XV BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
Text: Estela Zatania
It was a night for crowning young hopefuls on the ninth day of the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. Without a doubt it is the sacred duty of every flamenco fan to encourage, support and guide young artists who choose the difficult path of cultivating an art-form that has limited interest in the big context of things.
For this reason, it is with regret I have to express my sincere opinion that building an entire show around Málaga dancer Luisa Palicio was clearly a costly blunder. The young disciple of Milagros Mengíbar, and winner of the Giraldillo of the Bienal in 2006 for “Best Young Hopeful”, has the capacity to imitate the style of stars of flamenco and Spanish dance. But her dancing never goes beyond the merely competent, although she is well-prepared to join any major company.
Great objectives, particularly that of honoring via imitation great dancers of the past, such as Argentina, Pilar López, Carmen Amaya and Mengíbar herself, are eclipsed by the magna personality of José Luis Ortiz Nuevo, who, with the sheer force of his personality and his endless creativity, effortlessly devours the entire show. His long monologues, punctuated by a strange kind of psychotic whining, and his tremendous capacity to move around the stage like a demented jester, turn the very modest dancing of Palicio into little more than filler.
The dark libretto, based on legendary verses from the Thousand and One Nights, speaks of a cuckolded king who has the annoying habit of seducing young women, and beheading them the following morning. Hence, the pretext of the work, which includes a sort of Arabian fantasy dance, “Triana” de Albéniz, peteneras, caña, alegrías y bulería por soleá, is that the girl avoids that unpleasant fate and cures the tormented king of his bloody hobby, by distracting him with her dancing.
Dancer David Pérez adds some energy when he joins Palicio to reproduce the caña of Pilar López with Alejandro Vega, but the stage, the theater seats, the theater, indeed the entire night, all belong to that mischievous and unpredictable natural resource known as José Luis Ortiz Nuevo.