We said yesterday (in reference to last week) that contemporary flamenco dance has become a genre unto itself in which there’s a sort of mirror game. The flamenco dancer facing off with the standard dancer. The avant-garde tendencies of the twentieth century, and the age-old tradition. Improvisation versus choreography. Flamenco versus flamenco.
Leonor Leal appears and reads a manual of dance done with feet. Antonio Moreno (Proyecto Lorca) scribbles on a sheet of paper, then tears it up. She pulls out castanets and continues giving the lesion. She then eats the castanet! No mystery there, the castanets are made of chocolate!
Describing these things is like describing the action of a silent film, Chaplin walking down the street, he seems to be limping, a house falls down on Buster Keaton and he makes a face…
The dancer gets in position and does footwork, the stage looks like behind the scenes at a rehearsal, a screen, a chair, a step-ladder, another smaller step-ladder, a desk-lamp…and the gag is the chocolate. Moreno also had a bit of the castanet of good and bad. It’s just a gag. There’s no message or metaphor in sight. For the moment.
She is flamenco, although not wearing a dance dress or hair bun. Her hair is a French-style bob with bangs, she’s wearing a sort of culotte pant-skirt (no message there either), and she does footwork in front of Moreno who plays a cajón and vibraphone. She avoids defined compás, she’s there but doesn’t finish the cycles, nor does she deconstruct in the style of Israel Galván.
There’s no narration, no singing, no complete rhythmic cycle. Scenes take place within the collage, and there seems to be the sound of “yo me subí un pino verde” (Lorca with Argentinita) but no, it’s just a game.
Leonor sits, brushes the dust off her leg, Antonio Moreno removes the “dandruff” from her shoulders and the dancer and percussionist make the rhythm sound again. Brilliant!
He moves to her face that offers enough possibilities to continue in place with puffed cheeks and lips that continue on the right path. It’s like Chaplin as onomatopoeia.
They stay in place, one kiss away from the one most reproduced one in the world: the girl and the Yankee soldier in the liberation of Paris. And the gag continues to surprise. The series ends with a session of yawning that Antonio Moreno transforms into soleá. Then, murmured flamenco singing, another discovery. You try to find out what is being sung, but you only make it half-way.
That’s how the flamenco dance sharpshooters function, two people fill the stage that years ago used to require regiments of dancers with peinetas and colorful polkadots. If it’s up to me, I’ll take Leonor (with Antonio Moreno too, but to a lesser degree) and, suddenly, from the other side of the mirror, Leonor Leal sings for us and tells us the method and we the people…sorry! We the audience get into reverse position and wander around, one foot here, another one there, with loose hips and a jovial smile (on the verge of laughing out loud with a touch of irony). Splendid…but you have to stop and think, like Buster Keaton, a building just fell on top of you, and “tienes la cara de haber pasao una noche mala”[loose translation: you look like something the cat dragged in].