XV BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
‘EL DUENDE Y LOS RECORTABLES’
Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña
Cante: Emilio Cabello; Bailaores: Reyes León, Juan Martín; Guitar: Alberto Rodríguez “El Zayas”; Percussion: Raúl Botella
The second show of the Bienal conceived for children filled the Alameda theater to capacity with an unusual story and approach.
A flamenco toy-maker realizes that the ‘duende’ of his art has given life to some paper dolls he was working on. These drawn images present various flamenco forms, soleá, siguiriya, martinete, garrotín, tangos…, and dance accessories such as castanets, fan, cane, hat…
It’s a nice story full of nostalgia, but I seriously doubt today’s children know what cut-out paper dolls are, as this is a something from another era.
The 50-minute length of the show is designed so as not to strain children’s attention span, although towards the end you could see many squirming in their seats or wandering up and down the aisles.
In this type of activity the connection with the children is fundamental, and I don’t believe it took place, mostly due to the lack of interactivity, games and such to get the kids to participate in some way. It’s this type of experience that can make the difference between boring or unforgettable for a child.
As far as the show itself, the quality of the performers is quite acceptable. The dancers do what they have to do, while acting out skits that entertain the children. The guitarist and percussionist were also well-chosen, and singer Emilio Cabello proved to have a wonderful voice and a flamenco way of using it, and even his sevillanas were full of depth.
All this yields a good flamenco show which, if stripped of the trappings designed to attract children, would be good enough for any adult flamenco fan.
Yet another attempt to interest children in flamenco, full of good intentions, no question about it, and carried off with high-qualilty elements. However, to really get kids involved requires professionals who understand children’s needs, educators. This is what the show was lacking.