23rd FESTIVAL DE JEREZ
Jesús Carmona y Cía. “Amator”
Vanesa Coloma “Flamenklórica”
Tuesday, February 26th, 2019.
Original idea, director, choreography and dance: Jesús Carmona. Voice: Juan José Amador, Jonathan Reyes, Jesús Corbacho. Guest choreographers: Marco Flores, Nino de los Reyes. Music, guitar: Juan Requena. Artistic director: Rafaela Carrasco, Jesús Carmona.
The show began with an on-stage announcement requesting that the seventeen individuals who received invitations, please come up on stage. People scattered throughout the audience then obediently stood up and headed for the stage. It makes you expect something novel and surprising…might they actually be musicians and singers who are going to participate in the performance? As it turned out, they were not, they simply remained seated on stage, an extension of the audience out in front.
The expressed premise of the show “Amator”, in the words of dancer Jesús Carmona, is love: for the theater and the tablao, for improvisation and choreography, for the inspiration of the moment, for Spanish dance, flamenco and avant-garde and for sharing with other interpreters. When you look at it like that, there isn’t much Jesús doesn’t love.
In addition to the people selected to go up and watch the show directly on-stage, there is the unexpected twist, on three occasions, of Jesús asking the audience what dance they want him to interpret: what do you prefer, siguiriya or serrana? Sometimes ideas that sound great at first, then fall flat when carried out.
As far as staging, the work suffers from the oppressive darkness so over-used by current flamenco dancers…I really miss seeing the interpreters’ faces. But let’s put the libretto and the technical circumstances aside and talk about dance. Jesús is an extraordinary dancer, a virtuoso with impeccable credentials and discipline that denotes many hours and years of work. His command is impressive and, well yes, you see that “love” he talks about. The presence of singer Juan José Amador is an important plus, his personality and spontaneity, his overall ease on stage adds a good flamenco feeling, as does the young veteran guitarist, Juan Requena.
The program is presented in three parts: “Reflejo, Terreo y Lozano”, with such diverse elements as jácara, Mexican petenera and the folkloric tiranilla danced by Jesús, barefoot and with castanets, showing the extent of his preparation, in addition to a more conventional repertoire.
Other noteworthy moments, the guajiras with old-time flavor in which singer Jesús Corbacho briefly and unapologetically does Pepe Marchena, also tientos/tangos/tanguillos, fandangos, free-form, rhythmic and abandolao, serranas and caña as requested by the audience, a good assortment of cantinas and always the superb dancing of Jesús Carmona with all the associated flavor.
I’ve been observing and enjoying Vanesa Coloma’s art for several years. Aside from being a fine dancer (in all honesty there are many fine young women dancing), her intelligence, her sense of the past and how it influences the present and her overall good taste, cause her to stand out.
The libretto speaks about the golden age of the cafés cantantes (traditional night-clubs with music), but the time-frame is closer to the tablao heyday with retro rumba and songs of Bambino and Pescaílla, with a nod to Caracol and Lola Flores. In any case, and regardless of the chronology, Vanesa shows her fascination with, and command of “historic” flamenco.
On this occasion she is supported by the singing of Roberto Lorente, Matías López ‘El Mati’ and Ismael de la Rosa ‘El Bola’ and the guitar of Juan Campallo. You can also tell dancer Alfonso Losa was involved in the choreography, and Ángel Rojas in the staging.