“Al Compás de su Gente”. Dance: Manuela Carpio. Guest dancer: Diego de la Margara. Voice: Enrique El Extremeño, Manuel de la Tañé, Juanillorro, El Kini, Israel de Juanillorro, Iván de la Manuela. Guitar: Juan Diego Mateo and Antonio Santiago ‘El Ñoño’. Jueves Flamencos de Cajasol. Thursday, May 17th, 2018. Attendance: Nearly full.
Text: Sara Arguijo
Photos: Remedios Malvarez
Manuela Carpio is a fiesta unto herself. A wild animal. Pure Jerez. Excess. Temperament. Character. Swagger. Self-assurance. Lust. Histrionic Madness… The dancer came to Cajasol to put her body at the service of the rhythm of her people, and the fiesta began with such euphoria, we had to look at the clock to be sure it was only 9pm, and not the wee hours of the morning.
The cheering, the clapping, the voices and the closings were thus strung together from the start in a frenetic repertoire of alegrías, bulerías and soleá upon which she placed her way of understanding this art-form as a blast of enthusiasm, like an unconscious alienating impulse.
In other words, the Jerez dancer has engraved in her surnames, in her insides and in her legs, that exaggerated, uncontrolled flamenco that is the opposite of sobriety and moderation. But not because she seeks easy applause through sensationalism, but due to a survival instinct. And because where she comes from, it’s important that people notice you’re an artist, and to be one, there’s no choice but to mark the difference. Just ask Diego de la Margara who quickly responds with a single short dance.
As for the rest, and despite the great line-up of voices to back her up, the show had chaotic lighting – we lost count of the number of senseless changes of spotlights – also in the decanting of water bottles on stage and the entrances and exits of relatives from the dressing-room with their cell-phone screens lit up. And, above all else, absolutely horrible sound. But, as a friend commented on the way out, in this crazy context, everything bad ended up being good, and for this reason we were thankful when the singers put the microphones aside, and even when hair combs fell here and there. I wonder why sometimes we’re more seduced by vehemence than excellence…