‘Flamencodanza’ – A Superlative Performance, A Stinging Indictment

By Ernest Kearney  —  Please forgive if I seem somewhat severe in this review, but I am an aficionado when it comes to Flamenco.  I am also a huge fan of both Aylin Bayaz and Raul Mannola and their show Flamencodanza which took a Platinum Medal and awards for the “best show of dance and physical theatre” from TVO and HFF 2022 as well as the Award for Artistic Merit.

(A quick Flamenco term: “coba.”  Flamenco artists loathe coba, “false flattery.”)

Every musician who is involved with the Fringe should have seen Flamencodanza, especially those who are primarily guitarists because when it comes to mastery of that instrument, there are none who exceed the tocaor (Flamenco: guitarist) for control and precision of the strings.  There are no middling tocaores for the same reason there are no photos of inept mountain climbers on the summit of Annapurna in Nepal: if you don’t have the chops you don’t get to the top.

Mannola has the chops and then some.  To watch him play is an education in itself. 

Aylin Bayaz is a bailaora (dancer) of great skill and true tiene tablas (performer of experience.) She epitomizes what I love about Flamenco; that it embodies gracefulness and strength, described as “garra” meaning “force” or “guts,” though the literal translation is “claws.”

What bailaoras strive for, and Bayaz achieves, is sensuality infused with vitality, with life.  This is why Flamenco has no one body type and no narrow age window.  Flamenco embraces anyone who still retains garra.  This, in and of itself, should be of great appeal to any woman involved in the Fringe, especially in our society.

It was a pleasure to be on hand for Mannola and Bayaz’s final performance at HFF23, however sharing that experience with four others was not.

I have long noticed and admired how Fringers will go out in support of their fellow Fringers whom they meet at the “Office Hours” or Fringe Central.  This is the way it should be.  But I have also long noticed how they will tend to overlook International shows and those productions where the performers arrive late and don’t benefit from the Fringe’s social networking.  Shows like Whitefolks, Weber, and Flamencodanza are overlooked regardless of their merit.

I find myself specifically annoyed in the case of Flamencodanza because it shared a venue with what I regarded as the worst offering of HFF23 which, however, through superb networking managed sold-out houses.

Understand, my annoyance does not stem from Fringers who attended that show, which is, as I said, the way it should be.  Nor does it stem from some of those who did attend engaging in prodigious “coba.” My annoyance comes from their reluctance of sharing that love with others.

Platinum Medal

Maybe next year.  In the meantime, for Flamencodanza their second Platinum Medal.

Learn More at eflamencodanza.com


Flamencodanza played during the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2023 .

For Hollywood Fringe Festival Details, Flamencodanza Show Information Click HERE.

Written by

An award-winning L.A. playwright and rabble-rouser of note who has hoisted glasses with Orson Welles, been arrested on three continents and once beat up Charlie Manson. His first play, "Among the Vipers" was a semi-finalist in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition and was featured in the Carnegie-Mellon Showcase of New Plays. It was produced at the NPT Theater in Ashland, Oregon and Los Angeles’ celebrated Odyssey Ensemble Theatre. His following play, “The Little Boy Who Loved Monsters” was produced at The Hollywood Actors Theater, where he earned praise from the Los Angeles Times for his “…inordinately creative writing.” The play went on to numerous other productions including Berlin’s The Black Theatre under the direction of Rainer Fassbinder who wrote in his program notes of Kearney, “He is a skilled playwright, but more importantly he is a dangerous one.” Ernest Kearney has worked as literary manager or as dramaturge for among others The Hudson Theater Guild, Nova Diem and the Odyssey Ensemble Theatre, where he still serves on the play selection committee. He has been the recipient of two Dramalogue Awards and a finalist or semi-finalist, three times, in the Julie Harris Playwriting Competition. His work has been performed by Michael Dunn, Sandra Tsing Loh, Jack Colvin and Billy Bob Thornton, and to date, either as playwright or director, he has upwards of a hundred and thirty productions under his belt, including a few at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater as puppeteer. Kearney remains focused on his writing, as well as living happily ever after with his lovely wife Marlene. His stage reviews and social essays can be found at TheTVolution.com and workingauthor.com. Follow him on Facebook.

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