Review – Paco Peña – Sadler’s Wells

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Last night’s Paco Pena show was quite good, though it was really more about music than dancing (as I had wrongly thought). The first half was more “performance,” with the second half focused on more straight music and virtuoso solo dance. I realized, though, that something that was bothering me about most of the dance was that the dancers were not only not making eye contact with each other, they weren’t looking at the musicians. For me, one of the best aspects of flamenco is the improvisational aspects of it, and I only really saw that twice, once during a “everybody make rhythmn with what you’ve got” piece that looked like it was set in a bar, with everyone sitting down around tables, and a second time during the encore, when the oldish lady who’d been singing got in the middle of the circle of performers and cut the rug.

The other thing that bothered me is that there was a gaggle of teenaged girls sitting behind me that laughed at one of the dancers. I think it seriously broke his concentration, and I would have just stormed off. I don’t know why they were even there if they didn’t like that style of dance. I mean, yeah, sure, he was short, and with his shiny red boots on he looked a bit like Prince, and at one point I did think he looked a bit like a character out of Bugs Bunny, but I ached for him, and I was angry. I did think it was a bit sad that Spain got the Flamenco and England got the Morris Dancing, but we can’t control how things like Moorish invasions will play out in the long run, can we?

(This review is for a performance that took place on August 8th, 2007.)

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