14th Festival de Jerez 2010
Pepe Torres, Almudena Serrano
Texto: Estela Zatania
PEPE TORRES GROUP. Cante: El Galli de Morón, Miguel Rosendo, Moi de Morón, Luís Moneo. Guitar: Eugenio Iglesias, Miguel Iglesias.
Two young but experienced dancers shared the bill for the next to last night of the Festival de Jerez.
In the first part, Pepe Torres, from Morón de la Frontera, from the family of the “Gastores” as they’re known in town, that is to say, great nephew of Diego del Gastor, grandson of Joselero de Morón and nephew of Andorrano and Diego de Morón, offered a sampling of his elegantly flamenco dancing. In 2003 Torres was invited by Farruquito and Juana Amaya to share top billing in the work “Por Derecho”, and his discreet but intense style held its own with those two powerful dancers. Seven years later, the man who would later put movement to the music of Son de la Frontera, has come to Jerez with his own group, and we find a mature experienced dancer, self-assured and dedicated to defending the art of flamenco as he learned to live it.
With original details, polished technique at the service of inspiration, two good guitarists, four good voices and all the dignity and integrity that has always characterized him, he got the audience to their feet with the half hour he had been allotted, before turning the stage over to Almudena Serrano.
The dancer from Puerto de Santa María, dressed in red with a lovely beige shawl, opened with taranto, almost the same dance she used to compete in La Unión a few years ago. This is a dancer with all the intellectual curiosity of her generation, and she has studied with the great maestros of Jerez, Sevilla and Madrid whose teachings have cristallized in Almudena. Her approach is conventional and cerebral, correct if a bit predictable.
Compañía Rafael Campallo “Puente de Triana”
Dance: Rafael Campallo, Adela Campallo (guest artist). Corps de ballet: El Choro, Marina, David Pérez, Aroa. Cante: Jeromo Segura, Javier Rivera, Londro. Guitar: Juan Campallo, Eugenio Iglesias. Percussion: Antonio Montiel. Artistic director: Rafael Campallo.
Young dancers who aspire to large format shows don’t have it easy. Even after wrestling with logistics and financing, they still face the hardest part of all, which is taking the right approach. If you keep doggedly to existing forms, they tell you you have nothing to say, if you experiment, they say “too avant-garde”, if you follow a story line, they say it’s contrived, and so on and so forth. But the thing is, dancers just want to dance. Dance, work, communicate with audiences and of course, make a living doing what they most enjoy
Last night Rafael Campallo achieved a balance that would be the envy of many. His show was not conventional, but nor was it one of those impenetrable stories. Dance, and plenty of it, of an extraordinarily high level, so perfect in fact, that if you had to cite a defect, it would be exactly that: Rafael Campallo accustoms us to seeing each moment of his dancing resolve with such perfection, that his effortless command is quickly taken for granted. The spectator must constantly remember what he has achieved, and how well he harmonizes the elements of choreography, staging, physical and artistic power and the intelligence to bring it all together and make it look easy.
Let’s look at what the show is about; it doesn’t sound ambitious compared to what others have tried. The title “Puente de Triana” refers to the famous bridge no one wants to call by its real name which is “Isabel II”, and whose image of doughnuts in a row is as symbolic of Triana as the Eiffel Tower is of Paris. When flamenco was just coming into being, Triana was a suburb of Seville with its own life and personality, gypsies and tile-makers, with the familiar communal housing in whose patios some of the best-known and most easily distinguishable cantes were created, and of course, a seductive way of dancing characterized by bumping and grinding hips, and a pliè that places the center of gravity very low. With the guidance of maestro Manolo Marín, Rafael Campallo has developed a contemporary style that combines the exquisite subtlety of the Seville school, with the provocative movements of the old people of Triana, who not only enjoyed good cante, but entertained themselves with this peculiar way of dancing that raised the eyebrows of nineteenth century travellers. This is indigenous flamenco dance, the kind that never went to Paris or London, and which which Campallo has managed to translate for the general public.
Much is made of the richness of Triana cante, including the most characteristic soleares, siguiriyas and tonás, not to mention the beloved tangos del Titi. But aside from the sociocultural ethnomusicological subtext, and other polysyllabic terms, above and beyond all that is Rafael Campallo’s exquisite dancing. Beautiful subtelty in a powerful masculine package, eloquent silences, a clean line and economy of movement, with masterful use of slow-downs and accelerations to create contrasts.
Also noteworthy is the dancing of his sister Adela Campallo who interprets soleá, as well as alegrías with mirabrás and bulerías de Cádiz, first alone, then with Rafael. A third brother, Juan Campallo, winner of the first prize for guitar at La Unión, completes the excellent back-up in which guitarist Eugenio Iglesias and singer Javier Rivero are noteworthy.
At midnight in the Sala Paúl, Tomasito and the Delinqüentes performed for a mostly young local crowd, but it was an event that also drew many visitors who discovered this other layer of flamenco that exists in Jerez; a project of flamenco rock that invites dancing, which is why seating was not provided and it was necessary to remain standing for the duration of the show.