‘Fire of Life’

Along with a captive audience, I was totally in awe by the performance of Forever Flamenco recently at the John Anson Ford Theatre. This was a crescendo of over 700 flamenco performances produced by the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles.

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The word “Jaleo” was heard throughout this amphitheater. This is a term that only this art form is used by professional flamenco dancers and true connoisseurs. The performers were from California and from the best stages of Spain. Fortunately, there was not one style or single spectrum of a choreographer.

The birth of the Flamenco came from the Andalusian gypsies. These dancers and musicians brought the best of the flamenco world in their performances. Their hearts and souls were left of the stage.

They were outcasts and the sounds of their feet pounding the ground were out of frustration, whereas these sounds developed into various forms of footwork. The Braceo, arm and hand movements all became other actors in the stories told. The music of the bold and gentle guitars was enhanced by the glorious singing. The vocals are strongly influenced by the Islamic call to pray, and these gypsies made it their own.

FountainTheater_MAIN_590     This unique evening brought together by the Artistic Director Jesus Munoz, who appeared like a matador walking down from the hillside of the Ford, onto the stage that he lit on fire with his innovative virtuosity. His grandeur was soon replaced by one of my favorite flamenco dancers Daniela Zermeno. She brings not only breathtaking technique, but also a youthful hope to the dance form. Her performances always lift the spirits.

To the other extreme is the dynamic Melissa Cruz, who brings you back into the dark performance houses of Barcelona where only locals go to embrace the raw and true form. She does not hold back and you can feel the tortured history she tells with beat and inch of her body.

By contrast you are enraptured by the elegant, but passionate Mizuho Sato. One would not know that she is Japanese as she was transformed as they do in the Grand Kabuki into a mythological creature that captured the entire theater with her dramatic demand of the stage and art.

In steps the beautiful Reyes Barrios, she delighted us with her grace and traditional, if not iconic, style that the combination of all the elements wrapped up in one performer. Her flair to her extraordinary line was something to belong.

The stage and the mood are totally transformed by Ricardo Chavez. He gives the impression that he just stumbles out of local tavern and feeling no pain, however beginning with a carefree smile, he transitions into a man that seems to be being burnt from the inside. He pulls you into his world and the history of his people. His passion is contagious.

Of course, the essence of flamenco is the foot work. Each one of these dancers was well equipped with lyrical feet as the other musicians on stage. Their contrateiempo with the musicians unified the entire performance. To the most lyrical moments, Antonio De Jerez and Jesus Montoya vocalized their cries of the night. The real star guitarist Kai Narezo, who almost stayed in the shadows; however his melodies shined very so brightly in our night under the stars.

And not least or last, with me, my sweet pup, Lady Tulip watched and listened to the entire concert with excited joy. In addition, it was my pleasure to have at my side, an incredible dancer, who is the successor to carry on the Carmelita Maracci legacy, Elspeth Kuang  said, “Ms. Sato carried on this tradition in the most pure form.”

Review by Chevalier Tony Clark

www.clarkfinearts.com




Published by on August 2016. Filed under Art-in-Performance Section, California, Reviews-other, Two Sisters Bookmart. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

1 Comment for “‘Fire of Life’”

  1. Dmitrij

    Absolutely exciting article! I think i was there… Bravo Tony. You was one of the extremely lucky group of people who could enjoy the performance produced by the Fountain Theatre in Los Angeles. Thinking about Jesus Munoz… Daniela Zermena and magic moments of flamenco… Should I go and enjoy IMPRONTA by Jesus Lozano Dance company in Riga (October 7th)?

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