|Daily coverage BIENAL
DE FLAMENCO sponsored by:
Dance: Eduardo Serrano ‘El Güito’, Milagros
Mengíbar, Maripaz Lucena, Eliecer Truco ‘La Popi’,
Maribel Espino, Maribel Agámez, Miguel Téllez, Rafael
Peral, Niño de los Reyes, Jesús Carmona. Cante: José
Jiménez, Antonio ‘El Porras”, Leo Triviño.
Guitar: Felipe Maya, Juan Serrano, Pepe Maya ‘Marote’.
El Güito is no longer a dancer…he’s an institution,
a legend. It’s important to have this in focus in order not
to subject him to undue criticism. At 62 Eduardo Serrano is the
oldest actively performing male flamenco dancer, but he’s
physically fit. What’s out of sync isn’t his appearance,
nor even his approach to dance necessarily…in fact, it’s
no exaggeration to say that together with Mario Maya and Manolete
he revolutionized men’s flamenco dance more than thirty years
ago with austere lines, elegance and a thoroughly masculine projection.
The outmoded look is in the format of the show and in the choreographies,
all the work of Güito himself. Traditional dance has evolved,
and that statement is not the self-contradiction it appears to be.
Compás and form have not changed, but there’s a universe
of new possibilities, both rhythmic and visual, that we’re
accustomed to seeing in other groups and which are missed. Nowadays
the posture of the inverted L (torso rigid with one arm outstretched
at chest level) is merely a starting point, for Güito it’s
his very identity and the dancer seems unable to escape from that
rut. On an individual basis the group is competent, but collectively
they lack discipline. Here, as in Güito’s solo dances,
a top-notch choreographer could work wonders.
Austere lines, elegance and a thoroughly
Photo by: Alain Daumalle
Güito’s farruca works within these limitations, then
the taranto of the four women and alegrías of the four men…the
format invites boredom. In the siguiriya Güito dances with
Maripaz Lucena we see a nearly-forgotten art, that of contrast.
Modern choreographies are full of increible moves and the silence
that few know how to work is often missing. To finish the dance
the cantaor repeats the Manuel Molina closing that was also used
for the siguiriya presentation, an inexcusable faux pas, and the
singers are generally unremarkable.
Milagros Mengíbar appears as a vision of light and color
with her white bata de cola, red shawl and generous smile. Past
becomes present thanks to her art and good taste. A lovely mature
woman, the essence of the Seville school of flamenco dance, no one
could strut across the stage with more control and grace. Elegant
arms, expert control of the bata de cola, eloquent head movemente,
the proud walk of the Andalusian woman.
Soleá is the dance that defines Güito and closes the
program, but the Camaron-style singer adds yet another out-of-place
reminder of the past. There are some brief flashes of genius in
the fiesta finale and in the end the adoring audience shows its
gratitude for having been able to see a living legend in action.