Review – Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras – “Sabores” – Sadler’s Wells


When Booklectic and I (and others) went to Barcelona two months ago, we debated going to see a “Tablao de Flamenco” at the Poble Espanol, but were put off by the price (55 euros) and the fear of being stuck in a tourist trap. Me, well, I’ve seen what I consider to be some very fine flamenco, starting at the Barcelona flamenco bienalle of 2002, and I couldn’t bear the thought of seeing bad dance, so when Booklectic and I were thinking of fun things to do this summer, I said, “Hey, why don’t we finally see some flamenco at Sadler’s Wells? It’s pretty much guaranteed to be really good …”

Sara Baras in no way let me down. “Sabores” presented a variety of Flamenco styles, danced by her and her troupe of nine (or so) with seven musicians/singers accompanying. I am, alas, uneducated when it comes to the different styles, but what I saw was a variety of group unison dancing (which was reminding me a bit of Riverdance) and brilliant solos, two of which were performed by the ace male flamencos she had brought with her. (I’ll fill in the details when I have the program to refer to.) One of them did a dance with castanets – I found myself hanging on every percussive beat he was making – practically eating out of his hands! – while the other dressed in more of a caballero style, including with a hat and tan boots.

Baras herself carried much of the evening, and she does really have scintillating footwork, but also a strong dramatic presence. She is exactly what I expect of a flamenca – regal, straight-backed, serious, and sexy as all get out. She seemed to lean toward what seemed to me to be a more modern style, one that I think is suited to her personal aesthetic. There was a serious lack of red lipstick, haircombs, and big bangles or earrings on the women of the troupe. I did find it a bit sad that there was no dance done with the really long trailing skirt that the women whip around them, as I find it really hypnotizing and a great dance to watch – but instead, we got Baras in a black top with leather chaps on, WOW! In front it looked like (and moved like) a skirt, but in the back it showed off her strong legs.

The audience at Sadler’s Wells was very appreciative, starting out with some “Ole!”s, then moving to “Guapo!” when the men were dancing. Three quarters of the way in, they were just talking to the stage, mostly in Spanish, and the dancers were preening and parading and looking prouder and more excited and even occasionally talking back to the audience. The energy was really good. The musicians were clearly paying attention to every bit of what the dancers were doing, and even though quite a bit of it was stiff choreographed unison dancing (which I have never felt was very flamenco), there was still a lot of improv going on. The final hoedown was perhaps not as good as it could have been, if it was planned and not just a spontaneous reaction to the crowd’s enthusiasm – personally, I wanted to see the many corps dancers get their moment in the sun, since they barely seemed to have any solo work at all over the course of the entire evening. Overall, though, it was a not large complaint to make for what I found to be a very enjoyable evening.

A much bigger complaint: our dinner beforehand was at a restaurant called Tortilla and while their burritos are fine and their frozen margaritas most tasty, their tacos are an absolute disgrace. Even though they’d “double-bagged” them (two tortillas) and they actually used proper corn tortillas, all four of the tacos my husband and I ordered completely disintegrated before the third bite, the contents falling out of the bottom of the split and flaking “shell.” I know these were “soft” or street-style tacos, but in all my years of ordering off of taco trucks I’ve never seen such a shameful performance. Never again!

(This review is for a performance that took place on Thursday, July 10th.)


Tags: , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Review – Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras – “Sabores” – Sadler’s Wells”

  1. Review - “Zorro” (the musical) - Garrick Theater « Webcowgirl’s Theatre Reviews Says:

    […] good Flamenco singing (something I seriously did not expect), really added a lot to the show. (I quite like Flamenco and was expecting the worst, but my only real complaint was the costuming not being right for the […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: