Thursday, 12 February 2009

Corn Exchange, Bedford. 23/11/07

Rosa waiting her call.
5 minute call

© flamenco express 2007

'Bedford Art-icle'.

The first time I saw a Flamenco dance troop was in 1995 in a small crowded bar in Barcelona. There were only four in the company; a singer, a guitarist and male and female dancers. They sang, played and danced for an hour and a half without a break. The atmosphere in the confines of the bar was hot, steamy and intimate. The performance was done with vigour, artistry and passion, faces contorted with expression, communicating all the anguish, pain, joy and other emotions of the story. Performers and audience alike with beads of sweat dripping from the forehead, down the sides of the face and off the ends of noses and chins. Indeed, the singer was almost crying. It was electric.
Upon reflection I concluded that Flamenco is far more than just a dance. It is a way of life.

My second outing was some years later in the sterile atmosphere of a large concert hall in Munich. The performance inevitably succumbed to the atmosphere of the hall. Technically superb, but sterile.

Flamenco Express laid out their credentials immediately with the opening number which involved the entire company. They trooped onto the floor and commenced without introduction. The powerful voice of Ana de los Reyes boomed out across the rows of an expectant Bedford audience. The flowing skirts of the dancers, the staccato strumming of the guitar, the rhythmical clapping and the sharp, high speed tap, tap tapping of the feet brought it all flooding back.

With eyes closed the performance evoked all the memories and emotion of that bar in Barcelona. The performers doing well to counter the somewhat flat atmosphere of the Corn Exchange. Even without the heat, the intimacy and the sweat, Flamenco Express were never-the-less, as far as I was concerned, the real deal. Highly recommended.

© Manoj Gupta 2007

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