The Seville interpreter presented “Horas Contigo”, an exercise in memory and gratitude in which his technique and enormous capacity to generate beauty are noteworthy.
Silvia Cruz Lapeña
It’s incredible that one single man should be able to fill a stage as does Rubén Olmo. At the Festival de Jerez, even the music was occasionally unnecessary, because just seeing him dance is hearing the form, the melody or the piece, with no need to actually receive sound.
In “Horas Contigo”, a piece that was presented in Madrid, the classic and flamenco dancer carries out an exercise in memory and gratitude. Taken from pieces previously choreographed for him, it’s clear this show is a look towards the past. And he does it with love. With a great deal of love. As if he were paying tribute to made-to-order suits people like Rafael Estévez, Valeriano Paños, Eduardo Leal and Patricia Guerrero created.
Another example is the Falsa Farruca created for him by Israel Galván, performed with bagpipes, an exercise in deconstruction, with surreal touches and sass that Olmo at times takes to the point of paradox. And it’s a welcome attitude, flamenco is so serious and full of angst these days.
The Seville man is generous, few artists would “resort” to asking their former students, Guerrero y Leal, to choreograph pieces. In Jerez the most noteworthy was the Granada woman in whose creation Olmo and his prized student gave their all. There’s something unavoidably competitive in seeing a maestro dance with a person he has taught, and Patricia is a tremendous dancer for almost anyone. But in that facing-off Olmo showed why he holds the National Prize for Dance. The key is in the pauses, in the way he stops and mulls things over.
To explain it better, consider this image: Olmo is a bird. Not only because of the length of his arms and their fluttering, but also because of the way he alights upon a given movement, holding it, sustaining it in the air, almost flying. Or levitating. And without boring anyone, because he is capable of communicating his thoughts and feelings at every moment. The dance with a shawl is a good example. With that final piece, danced on toes, with an immense embroidered shawl full of long fringe that he dominated with surprising ease, his ability to freeze an image and stop time was clear.
In that lyrical creation it might appear easy, but he achieved the same effect in the bulerías encore, very flamenco, decisive, festive, which he put out little by little until it was finished. Without one single move in excess, subtle and ongoing. Many dancers would do well to take note of this way of ending, Olmo’s endings are worthy of an anthology.
There was room for improvement in the staging. For example, the excess of projected images and audiovisual elements that surrounded the stage of the Villamarta theater, not because of their content, but because this dancer needs no back-up and because our five senses are insufficient to take in the many details contained in his dancing. Also, the fog effect at the beginning of the show which was an obstacle to the audience’s vision of the first dances. But all that was insignificant compared to the great dancing and beauty offered by the Seville man who has created a show with which he summarizes his career and gives thanks, a gesture that honors him and is above all else.