"Suenos Flamencos" ("dreams of flamenco"), a full-length work by Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble, featured a flurry of colorful and voluminous costumes, powerful male dancers and the haunting strains of a live ensemble during a Saturday evening performance at Dance Place.

The choreography was shared among the dancers. There were two exceptional pieces. "Martinete" featured guest dancers Antonio Hidalgo and Jorge Navarro, who performed a passionate duel with canes doubling as percussion instruments. The flurry of their feet's staccato rhythms was punctuated by cane-pounding and macho chest-thrusting. The men locked eyes and canes, emanating animal force. The second outstanding piece, a powerhouse solo by Hidalgo, featured knife-sharp leg kicks and foot movements so fast you could not see them.

Carmel Shelly was arresting in her emotional solo "Alegrias," twisting, stamping and turning her body to beats of percussionist Peter Basil Bogdanos and guitarist Cristian Puig. In "Peteneras," founding artistic director Ziva Cohen wore an elaborate traditional dress with a full, red-ruffled train, and she moved slowly, as if posing in characteristic flamenco postures. Using her dress as a partner -- holding it close to her as if cradling her beloved, tossing it aside as if spurned in love -- Cohen evoked the inner seething passion that lies at the heart of flamenco.

-- Barbara Allen

Carmel Shelly of Ziva's Spanish Dance Ensemble.