|Daily coverage BIENAL
DE FLAMENCO sponsored by:
Dance: Andrés Marín, Ursula López, Leonor
Leal, Elena Algado. Cante: Encarna Anillo, Londro, José Valencia.
Guitar: J.A. ‘Canito’, Salvador Gutiérrez, Antonio
Rey. Percussion: Daniel Suárez. Trumpet: Irapoan Freire.
Panderos: Álvaro Garrido.
The lesson that dancer Andrés Marín gave
at Seville’s Teatro Central on Wednesday, September 29th was
as magnificent as it was simple. He’s not the first person
to seek a fresh look in flamenco, but he’s one of the very
few, if not the only one, who has done so with absolute, almost
blind faith in traditional forms and giving cante its due. With
that jumping-off point he sets out to demonstrate just how much
this art can still expand, the little it’s been explored and
how mistaken those people are who only see traditional flamenco
as a dusty museum-piece when it’s their own minds that are
There are some novel concepts: the three singers standing up, each
one with a directional overhead spot, singing to the audience while
the dancer dances behind them; the dances end almost without anyone
noticing, no flash or speed-ups; small metallic plaques with amplification
for the intelligently brief heelwork sections; cante solos which
are as carefully mounted as any of the dances instead of being treated
as mere fill-in. The lighting is a work of art for each dance, so
we shall name the lighting designer, Francis Mannaert – artists
Marín has an imposing presence, his aesthetic is fascinatingly
Egyptian, he makes the most of profiles and angles of arms and hands.
It’s a cerebral, controlled and elegant approach, but never
cold – with his relentless dignity he’s the Güito
of the new millennium. Minimalism minimalized, distilled, without
any kind of effects. You don’t dare look away lest you miss
one single moment of beauty, each gesture and movement is a finished
work of art and sends a message about how much respect the dancer
has for his craft…the flamencometer shoots off the chart.
How mistaken those people are who only
see traditional flamenco as a dusty museum-piece when it’s
their own minds that are closed.
The three lovely women dancers are extremely professional and disciplined
– it’s unfortunate they are poorly matched in physical
appearance as two are well-rounded while the third is extremely
thin. They do a beautiful dance with batas de cola to the seldom-heard
alegrías de Córdoba.
A singing solo called “Generación del 27” is
carried out in stages by the three singers: Londro with free-style
fandangos, Encarna Anillo with fandangos de Huelva and José
Valencia with verdiales style to close, all three giving voice to
poetry by Alberto, Miguel Hernández and García Lorca,
and unlike other similar attempts during the Bienal, on this occasion
you could actually hear the words. Throughout the show the guitars
were excellent and respectful with many original touches, never
seeking to upstage, always at the service of the dancer and singer.
Nowadays when young dancers have little interest in cante and can
almost do without it, the serious flamenco fan can read on the program
that Marín’s soleá includes the styles of Triana,
Charamusco and Alcalá. A sort of musical drone with sustained
dissonances gives new mystery to one of the most basic forms of
flamenco for Marin’s main dance which closes this evening
of flamenco which has been tastefully updated without deformations.