Forever Flamenco is back at the Fountain Theatre, which is cause for celebration.
I am a self admitted aficionado, whose been beating the drum for Deborah Lawlor’s program which brings the world’s most talented performers of Flamenco to Los Angeles, and after seeing the offering of April 19th, I plan on beating that drum even harder.
This evening brought a new sound to the intimate Fountain stage, a reflection of the influences Flamenco is undergoing as it continues to exert its own influence globally.
Andrés Vadin on guitar, Pablo Medina on piano, Reggie Hamilton on bass with Heredia himself on percussion provide a satin foundation for guitarist-singer José García who has a voice that caresses the ear like a pearl wrapped in silk.
Oscar Valero comes out as the evening’s first “bailaor” dancer, and the instruments are silent.
But music still fills the theatre as Valero demonstrates his prowess with the style of “pitos”; the art of providing ones own accompaniment with snapping of the fingers.
This method challenges the dancer’s “compás” or rhythmic skills, and Valero proves he is a master of the craft.
Valero’s dance style is the epitome of “vaiven,” or power, and indicates Heredia’s strategy for the evening; a series of counterpoints, subtle then intense progressing on until closing on another jazzy instrumental.
The evening overflows with amazing moments and remarkable artists.
Different artists are drawn for these monthly performances at the Fountain from the “cuadro”, the flamenco troupe, Lawlor has gathered about herself, and the talent one sees is always dazzling.
After regular attendance one becomes familiar with individual performers so that they excite the heart just by stepping out on stage.
Antonio de Jerez, the main “cantaor” (singer), one of the mainstays of these evenings, provides the vocal bridge of both power and grace that laces the separate artists into achieving the comprehension Heredia requires.
The female dancers this evening reveal the scope of the Spanish art form, with Claudia De La Cruz born in Mexico while her fellow “bailaora” Mizuho Sato first came in contact with Flamenco while studying at Sophia (Jouchi) University in Tokyo.
De La Cruz treats the audience to a enticing “baile de mantón” or dance with a shawl, that becomes more streamer and finally fan, while adding into her performance a chair, reminiscent more of Tango than Flamenco to my knowledge. A knowledge I admit is still growing.
Sato is one of those performers I mentioned who raises expectations by her appearance and who has never disappointed.
Sato embodies “pellisco” that quality a dancer has that increases the heartbeat of all who see her perform.
One of my favorite Flamenco terms is “Jarana” – spree.
It is used to describe dancers when they are immersed in that moment of ecstasy rooted in both their performance and the performances of those they share the stage with.
It is a magical thing to witness, the mere memory of which is actually bringing tears to my eyes as I type this. And it is also one of the great joys of Forever Flamenco, the opportunity of experiencing “Jarana” every month.
For this evening, Heredia succeeds in what he set out to accomplish.
The overall effect as exciting as riding a harmonic roller coaster, with the talent on stage offering more thrills than a whole afternoon at Magic Mountain.
And no waiting in line.
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FOREVER FLAMENCO: MAY 17, 2015
CURTAIN IS AT 7:30
Directed by Antonio Triana
Produced by Deborah Lawlor, Marina Elana, Bianca Rodriguez, and Oscar Valero, Antonio Triana
Singer: Jesus Montoya
Dancers: Marina Elana, Bianca Rodriguez, and Oscar Valero
Guitar: Antonio Triana (MORE COMING!)
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