Text: Estela Zatania
Photos: Ana Palma
22nd FESTIVAL DE JEREZ
Jesús Fernández “Puntos Inacabados”
Monday, March 5th, 2018. 9:30pm. Sala Paúl, Jerez de la Frontera
What a crazy headline, right? But don’t worry, I know what I mean. The thing is, we see so many works and projects related to flamenco, one more ingenious and ground-breaking than the next, there comes a time when you start noticing a certain uniformity within the contemporary tsunami that characterizes flamenco in the new millennium: the airplane arms, the long silences that test the audience’s patience, the science-fiction footwork, movements borrowed from the martial arts, austerity and absence of warmth. Then, this impish Cádiz dancer Jesús Fernández comes along and suddenly, everything that until now had been passing for novel, seems a bit stale and begins its journey towards the forgettable, victim of self-imposed monotony.
“Puntos Inacabados” allows us, invites us to appreciate and enjoy an entirely new collection of moves, details, choreographic and staging ideas that force you to see the innovation: it’s better than a new Ikea catalogue. “Daring work” ceases to be a phrase that instills fear in the hearts of flamenco fans and critics of a classic leaning, and your appetite is opened for more of this product, so steeped in flamenco, while at the same time breaking with the previous mold-breakers.
In the first place, everything is possible with top-quality ingredients such as dancers Iván Amaya and Anabel Moreno, the guitar of José Almarcha, director Daniel Doña and guest artist, the versatile singer Miguel Ortega, in addition to Jesús Fernández himself.
At the beginning of the show, when you hear the familiar drumbeat of Ravel’s Bolero, the attitude of affectionate irreverence is already set in motion, because it’s an evocation of Spanishness that collides head-on with the militantly contemporary image of flamenco. The dancers dress and move with street-smarts from the ghetto: dark baggy shirts, Bermuda shorts for Amaya… The music fades away and we hear the powerful voice of Miguel Ortega, while Jesús slices the air with stylized armwork and turns, as the guitarist plays beautiful original music with some Sabicas moments thrown in…and once again the drums sound…
A sort of “danza mora” morphs into garrotín, and Miguel sings a street-vendor’s song that dissolves into farruca danced with an air of Argentine tangos, an apparently impossible mix of elements that is carried out in a fluid and natural way. A kind of self-fusion, “complicated alchemy” as my friend Faustino Núñez would say. Without a doubt! Also noteworthy among other things, a mini-suite of cantinas.
Novel choreography that constantly surprises the spectator without being recycled modern dance, subtly humorous details and a fresh way of thinking at every moment, are what make this “small” work a big success. You end up falling in love with each of the 5 interpreters, and just want to wrap them up and take them home. There are people who say classic flamenco is used up, and there’s nothing more to discover. It’s not easy to create something new within an existing well-codified genre, but that which is worthwhile tends not to come easily. And again the drums are sounding…