"ETHNIC" dance can be straightforward demonstrations of traditional movement, often of only anthropological interest; flashy travelogues replete with colorful costumes, endless smiles and heavily-miked music; or authentic but theatrically inventive displays.
This week, two strikingly different ethnic ensembles -- both fitting the latter category -- perform here for the first time.
Twenty Andalusian gypsies make up the cast of "Flamenco Puro," an exploration of the fiery flamenco form. The brainchild of Claudia Segovia and Hector Orezzoli, the two men responsible for the smash hit "Tango Argentino," this revue-style show eschews the control and formality exhibited by many flamenco artists in favor of wild improvisation. The participants are said to be from flamenco family dynasties dating to the 15th century, so all that rhythm and passion must run in their blood.
The American Indian Dance Theatre is the first national company of professional Native American dancers and singers to celebrate that vibrant, and often neglected heritage. The 25 members, representing 14 tribes, perform a variety of ceremonial dances that tell stories, offer thanks, provide competitive outlets, praise valorous warriors, and reenact natural phenomena. Director Hanay Geiogamah (Kiowa/Delaware), a playwright and faculty member at UCLA, joins forces with choreographer Raoul Trujillo, a Genizara Indian from New Mexico and a former dancer with the Nikolais Dance Theatre, to create a format that's historically sound and theatrically compelling.FLAMENCO PURO --
Through Sunday at the Warner Theater.
AMERICAN INDIAN DANCE THEATRE --
Through November 22 at Ford's Theatre.