Posts Tagged ‘Pastora Galván’

Mini-review – Metafora -Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival 2013

March 24, 2013

Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia is the perfect beginner’s introduction to Flamenco, and this seemed to be reflected in the matinee audience on Saturday. It was full of schoolchildren and people who hurried to be inside the auditorium on time – the complete antithesis of every other performance I’d been to since the festival started. And, if I fess up, I’d decided for conservative seat in the first balcony way in the back, so obviously I had decided this was not the show to blow the wallet on.

The program started well, with a group of musicians to the back of the stage, and three men dancing in front of them. Then a red veil draping the rear third dropped away, and five women dressed in turquoise long-skirted dresses (“bata de cola”) were revealed, to my joy. They proceeded to the front of the stage and begin to do the magnificent dancing with the shawls whirling and the tails of the skirt being frequently and effortlessly kicked away as they spun around. It’s a hard style to show off your footwork, I think, but it’s really just a joyful spectacle, and I sat there grinning like a loon the whole time. And then the salmon-frocked Pastora Galvan (I think!) came out and showed the young chickies how it was done.

And then … well … I kind of felt like things lost their energy, perhaps because I think Flamenco doesn’t naturally lend itself to being performed in unison by groups. The only memorable things about the rest of teh show, for me, was the handsome solo of Ruben Olmo, skinny as a rail but powerful as hell and looking utterly focused, and then a languorous performance by Rocio Molina, with more of the unusual, angular arm work she’d done during her solo show but with considerable restraint to her personality. Except for a bit of singing, nearly the entire second half of the show was done to canned music, which for me totally killed the feeling, as one of my favorite things about flamenco is the feeling of connection between the singers, the musicians, and the performers – the electricity as they look at each other, trying to anticipate what would happen next – it was totally gone, It was just people doing exactly what they’d rehearsed in the studio, and it had exactly the kind of feeling of electricity and improvisation you’d expect from that. Ah well, I enjoyed the Alegrias section well enough as well as the chance to see so much of Pastora Galvan and once more of Rocio Molina, and, you know, for twelve quid I can’t complain much.

(This review is for the matinee that took place on Saturday, March 23rd 2013 at 2:30 PM. The Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival continues through March 27th.)

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Dance review – Gala Flamenca (Molina, Galván, Liñán, López) – 2010 Salder’s Wells Flamenco Festival

February 27, 2010

The Gala is always the event at the Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival that sells out, and I booked tickets for this way, way in advance. By the time I’d seen three other shows, I was ready for a night that was not about a “show,” with a through line, but about four people basically coming to the dance floor with their gloves off, ready for a fight to the finish. To be sure, the stage was stripped for this evening, barely doing more than putting color on the back of the stage, moving chairs around, and sticking two low wooden boxes on the floor for one number; it was really all about the dancers, with the musicians the same for all performers (though they did get some time to just sing and play guitar, which was lovely as ever).

We started with tiny, Bjork-esque Rocio Molino, whom I’d seen the year before. She came on stage in a brown leather skirt, jacket, and shirt that made her look like a tough as nails biker chick, complete with cowboy boots, then proceeded to stomp those damned boots into the ground, first as a solo, then with two guys. Sadly, this was the weakest part of the evening; Molino showed what I consider to be a lack of maturity as a dancer, hitting the footwork technique really hard but almost forgetting there was anything else she could do with her arms besides make pointing gestures. She also didn’t do much of the “connecting with the audience” thing and I began to get tired of her machine gun presentation. Flamenco, to me, is a lot more about building up that intensity; Molino was going for straight for a home run without bothering to round the bases. She also changed into some incredibly unfortunate outfits that made her look like a teenaged French runaway in Rochefort. Ah well, maybe next year she’ll remember to dance with her whole body and get more than one costume to wear.

Next up was Belén López, whose choice of a pantsuit made me fear we were going to get more of the same masculine, footwork driven style; but somehow she was pulling passion and fire out of it and getting a kind of crazy light in her eye that made me think she was actually enjoying herself. Ole! She wasn’t doing too much with her arms but she was so much more _there_ that she just firmly put Molina in her place as “on her way up” but not there.

We then had a fascinating solo by Manuel Liñán, a shockingly blonde man who came out with a cane, giving me a bit of a fear that Bob Fosse was about to make his presence known. Truthfully, the cane thing had been done the night before by the men with Maria Pages, and they made a more musical event of it, but Liñán came off like a dangerous man, a Mac the Knife in high-waisted pants. He played with his cane like a weapon; sliding, teasing, potentially violent. I was glad when he finally tossed it away and just danced; he’s a fun guy to watch, but once again I felt like he was being rather inflexible with his choreography and not connected to the singers and clappers.

Then our last dancer came on: Pastora Galván, who clearly needed to give all of the dancers lessons in how to use their arms to express their dance and make it whole. And yet, she was still doing rather too much “holding up her skirt” rather than drawing expressive pictures in the air, and I felt disappointed. C’mon, woman, I know you have it in you, rock the house out! But instead she seemed to be not very checked in, maybe just doing for the paycheck or something. She was flat. Wah.

The evening ended with a three-way dance off, Galvan the spirit of the old in a rather unimpressive long skirted red dress, Linan and Lopez snazzy in black velvet with red accents. While they all worked together, it seemed once again that Pastora was dialling it in, moving her skirt with long practice but not tight and focused at all. Meanwhile, Lopez, merely cracking her castanets and doing some shimmies in her long black skirt (well, there was footwork as well), looked to be having more fun that everyone else on stage. She was burning it up and Linan was about able to keep up with her.

Then, as we ended the show, everyone came out to take our bows, but finally we got some true improv; a bit of singing and dancing from the great female singer; dancing from both of the clapping women; then a flamenco cat-fight dance off between Molina and Lopez. It was good to see Molina actually looking like she was having fun; I’m sure she’ll season up nicely. Meanwhile, Belen Lopez was the woman who rocked the house tonight, and you’ll know it as well as I do because you won’t be able to get your eyes off of her. Best of luck getting in tomorrow night: it was a great night out.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Friday, February 26th, 2008. The final show of this and the Flamenco festival is tomorrow, Saturday, February 27th, and is sold out. Good luck getting tickets and otherwise Ballet Nacional Espanol is coming later in the year as well as some other Flamenco performers.)