XV FESTIVAL DE JEREZ
Texto: Estela Zatania
Monday at the Festival de Jerez began with the customary presentation of the following day’s shows. Dancer Manuela Carrasco pointed out that she receives “no yearly subsidies to put on shows”, but promised to offer her best dancing. At 5 o’clock in the afternoon, at the Centro Andaluz de Flamenco, another encounter with veteran artists took place, in this case the legendary Gitanillos de Cádiz.
Within the series of acoustic recitals held each year in the intimate venue of the Palacio Villavicencio, the first part of the program was a young woman, born in Germany and raised in Huelva, with the artistic name of “Regina”. With the unmistakable sound of the Seville academy that has oriented so many young people, she sang tientos tangos with a geographically diverse selection of styles, granaína, that was more in line with her lyrical delivery, and siguiriyas, ending with fandangos from her hometown. The magnificent guitarist Paco Cortés managed to smooth over certain limitations of the young singer.
In the second part, Jerez singer Antonio Peña Carpio “El Tolo”. He’s not a young hopeful, but a young veteran who has spent years developing his potential with home-grown cante from his neighborhood of San Miguel. El Tolo, who has just recorded his first CD, with the fine guitar of José Ignacio Franco, began bravely with tonás, with the accompaniment of the traditional hammer and anvil. He has the characteristic sound of the families of his neighborhood in soleá and siguiriya, with just that right dash of quirkiness so valued and cultivated in San Miguel.
OLGA PERICET “ROSA, METAL Y CENIZA”
Dance: Olga Pericet. Special collaboration in dance: Jesús Fernández, Jesús Caramés. Cante: Miguel Ortega, Lavi, José A. Carmona. Guitar: Antonia Jiménez, Javier Patino. Coreography: Olga Pericet and special collaboration of Marco Flores. Stage director: David Montero. Artistic director: Olga Pericet.
Olga Pericet is a diminutive and powerful package of danced art and good taste. Winner of the “Revelación” prize of last year’s Festival de Jerez, she wasn’t new to those of us who have been following the admirable career of this Cordoban lady for years. That prize led to her debut with a company of her own at this year’s festival, with the work she calls “Rosa, metal y ceniza”.
With that poetic title, I feared the worst, but as it turned out, Olga’s intelligence and capacity managed to put together a believable mix of oneiric references and traditional flamenco dance, with two good guitars and three excellent voices – just as in cooking, good ingredients tend to yield good results. Among other elements, off-stage voices, the modern dance of Jesús Caramés, “Córdoba” of Albéniz, an architectonically interesting distribution of space, a sort of string curtain that at times seemed to be alive or revealed a parallel world, had the counterbalance of Olga’s classical cantiñas with shawl, a dance that got the audience worked up to a lather when the show was just getting underway.
Excellent work on the part of the singing team. Miguel Ortega, powerful and versatile, José A. Carmona, of the Camarón school but with a personality all his own, and Miguel Lavi from San Miguel who could well carry off this year’s prize for best singer for dance.
Olga in a short dress interpreted siguiriyas that ended with the sudden appearance of Caramés who came running to literally sweep her off her feet and carry her off stage. It’s the kind of inspired detail that adds freshness without altering the order of things.
The singer Carmona played a mandola along with the two guitarists, and Lavi sang for the energetic dancing of Jesús Fernández who surprised us a few days ago with his show at the Sala Compañía. A contemporary pas de deux with Olga and Caramés, offered the novelty (for me) of lifts (in the classic ballet sense) of a dancer wearing a bata de cola, another example of the perfect blending of classic and flamenco dance.
Olga continued with soleá, wearing a black bata de cola that resembled shiny scales making her look like the bride of Dracula, not necessarily incompatible with flamenco. Olga Pericet has never gone this far out on a limb, nor exhibited so much personality.
I don’t normally comment on the stage direction, but on this occasion the work of David Montera was exceptionally elegant, original, straightforward and effective.
ADELA CAMPALLO “HORIZONTE”
Dance: Adela Campallo. Cante: Londro, Jeromo Segura, José Valencia. Guitar: Juan Campallo, David Vargas. Percussion: José Carrasco. Choreographer and director: Adela Campallo.
The elegantly temperamental dancer Adela Campallo brought her small format work “Horizonte” to the Sala Compañía.
The first dance was to the famous “Galeras” of Juan Peña el Lebrijano, possibly the first time it was ever performed by someone other than Lebrijano himself, and certainly the first time it was danced. The piece features measures of three, the calling card of Lebrija, and was sung by Londro and José Valencia. Adela also dared to dance to free-form mining cante before Valencia launched his poweful cantiñas without guitar or palmas.
Adela returned to the stage to further develop cantiñas, and the oppressive lack of color in the wardrobe and lighting subtracted from the luminosity of this normally luminous form.
This year we’re seeing the revival of shawls in women’s dance, and Campallo does her bit as well. But you begin to wish there were a dial to turn down the extremely overbearing volume of the cajón which covered the sound of the guitars and voices.
Jeromo Segura interpreted the fandangos he does so well, and Adela, in trousers and wielding a cane, danced an updated zapateado. The final result is a show with its ups and downs, discreet but dignified. Adela Campallo is a fine dancer who still has important things to say.