(Blast, a few days after this event and I’m finding myself having a hard time matching names and performances! – ed.)
This year’s flamenco gala at Sadler’s Wells was quite different than the ones I’ve seen before, as instead of operating as a night of short solo performances done in sequence, it was a much more integrated work that had the three stars performing together as well as alternating throughout the evening, with musical interludes and performances by the various male dancers in between the women’s turns on the stage. The result was a more unified flamenco “show,” but one that had much less of the fireworks than previous nights. Highlights included Olga Pericet (in general), who at one point had so much energy going when dancing with two men that I thought there might be blood on the floor (her feet like nervous laughter – I think the song was “I have three hearts”); a trio of men dancing while passing a red hat between them (each trying to be a little bit better than the other, while still sticking to the basic choreography); and Carmen Cortés’ final dance, which showed the young ‘uns how it was done – her musicality taking her entire body and making up for age’s loss of speed and flexibility. Less pleasant were the two female vocal solos done to piano music, and an odd flamenco-done-to-cello thing that just seemed entirely too forced to be pleasant for me. I was dozy and uninvolved during the various vocal interludes, which is odd as I do like flamenco singing but the soloists in this show were not engaging. Overall, this was an enjoyable night, but had too many gaps to be a memorable one.
(This review is for a performance that took place on Saturday, February 1th, 2012. For an alternate view, please see the Guardian’s review.)