Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Flamenco Gala @ Sadler's Wells - review

I wasn't really planning to write a review for this, but I got a bit excited about this show commenting on Webcowgirl's review of it, so I thought I should write one after all.

The Flamenco Gala is always one my highlights of the annual Flamenco Festival: three great dancers sharing the stage, all for the price of one ticket? I'm in!

This year's gala probably didn't have as many wow moments as the previous ones, but I still really enjoyed it, with a line-up showcasing the different flamenco perspectives of Rafaela Carrasco, Olga Pericet and Carmen Cortes. Just a few notes on each of them...

The three bailaoras were accompanied by four astounding male dancers, who were given some great chances to shine by the way (see the video above).

Following an opening group number, Rafaela Carrasco performed the first solo in alegrias, wearing a white dress with bata de cola (the long train). It looked to me like she really enjoyed the dance: she often faced towards the musicians, sat to the right of the stage, smiling at them. Her choreography featured this repeated motif where her arms and hands, up, would slowly come down, going over (caressing, really) her breasts and hips, before she would jerk her shoulders up, as if shrugging off a compliment or advances from an over-eager suitor.

Her technique with the bata was fantastic. My favourite moment was when she turned and turned so the bata gained momentum, ending up continuing to turn around her after her body had stopped. As the dress curls around her feet, Carrasco followed it with her eyes, almost surprised, and laughed. The joy of dancing! Unfortunately I can't remember what the song was about... maybe it was actually about the joy of first love?

Olga Pericet is petite, but very athletic and full  of power (it helps that she is pretty too!). In her solos, she was often surrounded by the singer and the guys doing the palmas (clapping). She looked tiny against them but her technique, expressions, arms, hands were always beautiful, strong, and she projected great charisma. They were singing, clapping for her: at her service. Check out the video below (from the solo show she performed earlier that week)

Carmen Cortes is a dancer of an older generation. Her style is wilder, purer, more passionate. Unlike Carrasco, there is no trace of contemporary dance in her choreography. On Sunday night, I thought she wasn't as strong as I would have expected, her positioning and balance were often off. Maybe she was tired? Looking at the programme, she only performed one of her two numbers as well. She did give her all, to be fair, and the ending of her solea received great applause from the crowd.

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