24th FESTIVAL DE JEREZ
Sara Baras Ballet Flamenco “Sombras”
Juan Diego Mateos/Belén Maya “Ni tú ni yo”
Thursday, February 27th, 2020
Director and choreography: Sara Baras. Music: Keko Baldomero. Drawings: Andrés Mërida. Lighting: Óscar Gómez de los Reyes. Special collaboration: Ara Malikian. Corps de ballet: María Jesús García Oviedo, Charo Pedraja, Cristina Aldón, Sonia Franco, Daniel Saltares, José Franco. Guitar: Keko Baldomero, Andrés Martínez. Voice: Rubio de Pruna, Israel Fernández. Percussion: Antonio Suárez, Manuel Muñoz “Pájaro”. Saxophone, harmonica, flute: Diego Villegas.
“How time flies!” is the cliché in everyone’s mouth. Sara Baras, mega star of flamenco dance, must also be thinking the same thing. It seems like only yesterday she won that TV contest “Gente Joven”, and now here she is, three decades later, goddess of popular flamenco dance, celebrating her twenty years at the head of her own company.
Sara’s shows are a banquet for the senses: color, light, stylized dance, impeccably designed stage sets, unexpected effects, good sound… Broadway and Las Vegas passed through the flamenco prism, tempered and changed into a product that fascinates everyone.
Sara Baras knows the importance of a presentation piece, and of choreographed bows, two customs that should never have disappeared. Lighting is perfectly programed so as to avoid any imprecision. There’s a lot of footwork, really lots and lots, I would have preferred less, but that’s the current fashion, and few dancers have better technique, speed or power. And of course, the flying and twirling of diaphanous fabrics, be they skirts, curtains or shawls, the trademark of Sara Baras, universal woman of Cádiz, flamenco superstar.
Rubio de Pruna and Israel Fernández provide their rich flamenco voices, ole!, and with Keko Baldomero on guitar, they lay out the flamenco feeling for some fine moments.
Guitarra: Juan Diego Mateos. Baile: Belén Maya. Dirección: Fernando López. Música: Juan Diego Mateos, Antonio Soteldo. Coreografía: Belén Maya.
At the Sala Paúl, dancer Belén Maya came with Jerez guitarist Juan Diego Mateos, and their debut performance of “Ni tú ni yo”. This is a work that aims to deconstruct the traditional flamenco hierarchy by which guitar occupies a secondary place to dance. The idea is to ignore personal interests to make way for art itself, with the interpreters occupying the same level of importance as one another.
Two outstanding artists with a minimalist project that presents some difficulty. Difficult for the audience, partially due to the absence of vocals to support the meaning of the various scenes. Also disorienting, the guitar mainly provides unidentifiable lyrical music.
Much use is made of repetitive movements that dissolve into abstractions. Obsessive rubbing of the skin with a washcloth, the folding and unfolding of clothing, putting on and taking off of skirts, dresses, several long train dance batas… Belén steps down into the audience and we see her hands open a pomegranate and other fruit, which is then offered to audience members seated nearby. She marks her arms, legs and face, dances brief fragments of sevillanas, repeatedly swapping chairs with Juan Diego as if they were a couple dancing.
Two top flamenco performers seeking alternatives in a work that will be repeated this evening.