The Washington Post

Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia performs tribute to dance’s past

Dancers from Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia showcase traditional flamenco in “Metafora.” The work was directed by Ruben Olmo, an award-winning contemporary flamenco dancer and a member of Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia. (Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia/The Washington Post)

The Flamenco Festival, now a biennial event, was supposed to take a breather this year. Nonetheless, the 19-member Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, directed by Rubén Olmo and headlined by guests Pastora Galván and Rocio Molina, took the stage Sunday evening at Lisner Auditorium with the festival’s imprimatur. The concert had two parts: “Suite Flamenca,” classic puro propelled by five excellent musicians; and “Metáfora,” a bland series of works to canned music. According to the program, the entire production was conceived as a tribute to the diverse traditions and interpreters that have shaped contemporary flamenco.

The first such reference was a glorious “Cantiñas de Coral” in joyful homage to Matilde Coral, matriarch of the Seville School. Beautifully structured by her daughter, Rocio, it filled the stage with five women in a swirl of embroidered shawls and gossamer ruffles. Soloist Patricia Guerrero glided through the aquamarine ripples wielding, yes, a coral shawl, her lovely line eloquent testament to a master craftswoman. Guerrero later returned, almost unrecognizable, to replace a sidelined Galván in that diva’s earthy, pulsating “De Los Reyes.” Another standout, the darkly poignant “En Sueño,” paired Eduardo Leal and Ana Agras in a lyrically passionate narrative. A spirited tangos finale showcased the entire company.

“Metáfora” has met with some tough criticism. Olmo is technically brilliant, but the infusions of classical ballet in his solo came off as sadly contrived as the surrounding artificial haze. In the ensemble numbers, references to the bolero school lacked charm and piquancy; out of context and watered down, steps from Spain’s magnificent folk repertoire lost their vigor. There were worthwhile moments: Molina’s mesmerizing solo and the superb dueling bulerías performed a capella by Carlos Cardoso and Alvaro Paños. Overall, however, it was the likable young cast’s undeniable talent, steadfast commitment and skillful delivery that carried “Metáfora,” and, judging by the enthusiastic ovation, convinced the audience.

According to director Miguel Marín, the Flamenco Festival will return in 2014 with the week-long program Washington has come to expect.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read
Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.