XIV Festival de Jerez 2010
JOAQUÍN GRILO – “LEYENDA PERSONAL”.
Text: Estela Zatania
The concept of “self-portrait”, the danced biography, is fashionable right now. It sounds cool to say that one’s work is an introspection, a journey through the past in order to discover the present, and travel on to the future. María Pagés, Antonio el Pipa, Rosario Toledo… many have presented pseudo-biographical work.
But don’t think that Joaquín Grilo’s “Leyenda Personal” is about the dancer’s beginnings on the TV talent program Gente Joven, his triumph at the Córdoba contest or other similar references. In fact, it’s the same Grilo as always (for which we are thankful), surrounded by various symbolic references…a rocking-chair, an outsized photo album, the sound of a heart-beat, the transluscent curtain, projected images of old photographs of the dancer’s family, the four mannequins who descend from above, the ropes attached to the dancer turning him into a puppet…that seem destined to hold the interest of those not able or williing to be seduced by straight dancing, singing and music, with no story line. Even when the dancer declares that the work is a defense of artistic independence, a tribute to “poverty, and the humble life-style of my childhood”, a reflection on the past, and just for good measure, on his mother and all mothers, he continues to be the same old Joaquín we all know and love, and too bad artists have to get involved in these imbroglios.
Theatrically speaking, “Leyenda Personal”, previously premiered in 2008, is a hermetic and claustrophobic work, but polished and professional, which manages, by the skin of the teeth, to avoid being swallowed up by its own conceptual baggage. Dorantes’ piano is a welcome addition, one of the few pianists in flamenco able to actually accompany dance and cante, who doesn’t simply play compositions. He establishes a perfect dialogue with the dancer, resulting in some spectacular moments.
In cante, there is the guarantee of José Valencia, although Carmen Grilo also contributes a great deal and is singing better than before, and a string orquestra adds great beauty. There are over-acted moments, with melodramatic embraces that drive the audience wild, but which were less than thrilling for this reviewer. Tientos, soleá, siguiriyas, fandangos de Huelva, cantiñas, bulerías…but the best-constructed dance, which had the greatest impact, was the poweful farruca which at moments recalled the version of Antonio Gades of the same piece. And always Grilo’s need to play the clown: the rag-doll poses, the uncoordinated deformed person (please see the dance of Triana’s patios circa 1950), the drunkard, the old man… He does whatever he wants, and does it masterfully.
Overall, an excellent show with excellent music, an entertaining work, although if suggestions are being accepted, I’d ask for less embracing of the singers, less clowning and a more dignified style.
PATRICIA IBÁÑEZ Y ABEL HARANA “MEMORIA ANTIGUA”
Dance and choreography: Patricia Ibáñez, Abel Harana; Piano: Pedro Ricardo Miño (guest artist); Cante: Vicente Gelo, Fabiola Pérez, David Sánchez “El Galli”; Guitar: Ramón Amador, Manuel Valencia; Percussion: Roberto C. Jaén; Music: Ramón Amador.
Text: Manuel Moraga
Sunday kicked off with two young dancers who offered a look to the past, specifically “in order to remember nearly obsolete cante forms”.
This is what was expressed in the previous day’s press conference. It’s an admirable goal, although it’s paradoxical to propose the conservation of cante via dance, when the expressive possibilities of cante in this context are generally more limited. Nor does it seem logical that recuperating a cante form has much influence in other aspects of the show: for example, I don’t think the dancers interpret a taranto of Linares any differently from a taranto of Almería…or do they? It’s not really clear. One way or another, it’s a praiseworthy effort.
Dance-wise, both Abel and Patricia are experienced enough to propose ideas of their own. And they demonstrated as much, especially in the taranto (Patricia) and the cantiñas (Abel). Speaking of which, seeing as how the show is about remembering old forms, Abel could have drawn from the reference of the Pelao family for farruca, which is much older than the Gades inspiration, and certainly more unjustly ignored. In any case, these are two talented artists with a great future ahead of them, who have started down a new path, and although they may have a hard time finding venues for their expression, it would be all the more difficult to define a style of their own. I think Patricia Ibáñez and Abel Harana have talent and creativity. The difficult thing is now to explore their own personalities.
Noteworthy is the work of the back-up artists, and the special collaboration of Pedro Ricardo Miño. With people like that behind you, everything goes more smoothly.
Soniquete “Asignatura Pendiente”
Cante and dance: Ángeles Cortés, Rodríguez Junquerita, Reyes Moreno Romero, Teresa Moreno Jiménez, Dolores Carrasco Ruiz, Manuela Fernández Martínez, Manuel Marín Valencia “Manuel de la Chochete”. Flamenco guitar: Jesús de los Ríos Carrasco, Fernando Romero Moreno. Electric bass: Ignacio Cintado.
Text: Estela Zatania
A group of youngsters from the Santiago neighborhood of Jerez, with close ties to the Terremoto flamenco center, make up the group “Soniquete”, a sort of formative flamenco workshop. Dynasties such as the families of Moraíto, Niño Jero and the Sorderas are represented, and the project is promoted as unrelated to so-called “flamenkito”, or derivative music, despite the youth of the interpreters.
With that perspective in mind, I was anxious to attend Sunday’s performance at midnight in the Sala Paúl. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with “flamenkito”, it’s just that it abounds in Andalusia as in the entire country, and even abroad. But traditional flamenco interpreted by young people has to be looked for with a powerful magnifying glass in Jerez where kids have other more popular role models. If only it were as simple as being “in the blood” as some people here still believe.
Two young singers, Manuel and Pedro, open with a short bit of bulerías, with two equally young guitarists who are both very competent and very Jerez, and the whole thing looks promising. Then, since this is Jerez, Moraíto comes out to speak about the importance of the children, “sons and grandchildren of the great families of Jerez”. Little Manuel dedicates his soleá to “my godfather, Terremoto junior”, and offers a warm, moving interpretation of soleá. His fandangos cut to the quick with Caracol’s “Malva loca”….the kid knows what he’s doing.
Then suddenly, the guitarists trade their acoustic instruments for electrified ones, a cajón and electric bass appear and the Jerez feeling flies out the window to become lost in the great sea of pop music. There was magic while it lasted, and we are grateful for that short bit because we know it’s always there for the next generation. If they’re interested in it of course.