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Festival de Jerez. La Truco / María José Franco / Peñas

February 28, 2010

14th Festival de Jerez 2010
María José Franco “Al compás del viento”
La Truco “Pa’ mis adentros”
Saturday, February 27th, 2010

 

 

Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma

TWO BRIDESMAIDS AND NO BRIDE

PA MIS ADENTROS. Dance: La Truco, Joaquín Ruiz (guest artist). Cante: Manuel de la Malena, Sara Salado. Guitar: Antonio Españadero, Fernando de la Rúa. Flute: Omar Acosta. Percussion: El Bandolero. Choreography: La Truco
AL COMPÁS DEL VIENTO. Bance: Ma. José Franco, Asún Armario, Ma. José Peña, Natalia López. Cante: Luis Moneo, El Pulga, Carmen Grilo. Guitar: Juan Manuel Moneo, Pedro Pimentel. Percussion: Carlos Merino. Palmas: Diego Montoya. Choreography and stage direction: Ma. José Franco

The second day of the Festival de Jerez began with a press conference in which Lola Greco, holder of Spain’s national prize for dance in 2009, with the aid of choreographer Javier Latorre and dancer Amador Rojas, spoke about the show “Fedra” which she will present tomorrow at the Teatro Villamarta.  Shortly afterwards, Ana Palma’s photographic exhibit “Con Sabor a Jerez” was inaugurated at the Sala Paúl.

At 7 P.M. at the Sala Compañía, la Truco, veteran dancer from Madrid, offered a modest but dignified show called “Pa’ Mis Adentros”.  She opened directly with alegrías de Córdoba and de Cádiz, and is clearly a competent dancer, but it was guest artist Joaquín Ruiz who stole the show with a style that recalled the compact minimalism of the much-missed Manolo Soler.  The musical accompaniment included flute, giving an outdated sound reminiscent of the nineteen-eighties.  Following this, the surprising Jerez singer Sara Salado sang bulerías front-stage with all the energy of the San Miguel neighborhood, triggering the most heart-felt applause of the evening.

La Truco then returned with a classic taranto that ended with tangos, and then, Joaquín Ruiz applied his contained intensity to siguiriya, but the wafting feeling of weightlessness created by the flute foiled the impact.  La Truco rounded out the show with her soleá, better than her previous interpretation possibly due to her artisitc collaboration with El Güito, famous for his interpretation of this form.  The closing fiesta bit, with La Truco’s young discovery, a dancer from Puerto Real, and we headed for the Villamarta Theater for the second show of the night.

Cádiz dancer María José Franco has been working for years to make a name for herself.  After her noteworthy collaboration with Antonio el Pipa, and a long and admirable career, she has finally seen her dream come true and presented a company of her own at the Villamarta theater.  Her show, “Al Compás del Viento”, is based on an ambitious pretext that revolves around geography, namely: Cádiz and Jerez, so united and yet so separated, a half hour by car, 35 minutes if you’re an extremely careful driver.  The program is a glossary of poetic words: earth, fire and water…salt-spray, forge, white sand, sun, salt flats, breezes, sunsets, tides…

But what about the dancing?  Franco is a competent professional, and her elegant long-waisted form seems designed to dance.  But this show suffers the effects of other self-directed productions, and I’m beginning to think that for theater works based on dance, dancers ought to stick to dancing and leave choreography and directing to the experts.  If María José’s dances are a delight, much less praiseworthy are the three barefoot girls who wander  s l o w l y  and aimlessly around the stage, the pile of chairs stacked at one end, the relative shortage of cante and the very deficient lighting (except for alegrías) that deprives us of the performers’ facial expressions.

Soleá por bulería, guajira, tientos tangos, solea and alegrías are the main dances, the latter being the most interesting when it begins with the recorded voice of the beloved Chano Lobato, eloquent tribute to the singer who passed away not long ago.  The cante was ably managed by Luis Moneo and Carmen Grilo, but Juan José Amador, who was unable to be present although announced on the orginal program, would have rounded things out nicely.

Then suddenly, it’s all over, before sufficient tension has been constructed to warrant a final curtain, and again you miss the hand of an expert to avoid such awkward moments.  The Cádiz dancer’s much-awaited debut at the Villamarta lasted barely an hour, leaving time for some good Jerez tapas before moving on the to the peña El Pescaero where the cuadro of Sandra Rincón was featured within the series “De Peña en Peña”.