XVI BIENAL DE FLAMENCO DE SEVILLA
“EN LA HORMA DE SUS ZAPATOS” ISABEL BAYÓN
Dance: Isabel Bayón; Cante : David Lagos, Miguel Soto “El Londro”; Guitar: Jesús Torres, Paco Arriaga; Percussion: José Carrasco.
Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña
Seville dancer Isabel Bayón brought her latest show to the Teatro Central. Some choreographies were prepared for her, and others were of her own creation. Above all, we saw a very versatile dancer, but with more to say in flamenco.
Choreographies by Florencio Campo, Fernando Romero and Rubén Olmos comprise the first part of the show. They are all based on a sonnet by Miguel Hernández. Modern tendencies, ballet influences and the most flamenco part by Fernando Romero, displayed the suggestive capacity of Isabel Bayón, her expressive range, the use of accessories such as fans, the absence of music or arms, but was more moving aesthetically than emotionally.
The second part brought the more flamenco Isabel, with her own choreography and a dance of tangos de Triana that triggered the first “ole”. If in the first part she was comfortable with other languages, in this one she seemed to be speaking her mother tongue. The audience reacted, and Matilde Coral didn’t stop shouting “viva Sevilla!”
Noteworthy were the voices of Jerez singers David Lagos and Miguel Soto “Londro”, both of whom knew how to carry the show to a high level with their singing, with their talent on full display.
I enjoyed the guitars of Jesús Torres and Paco Arriaga, they were on the same wave length and complemented each other at every moment. Both are credited with the musical composition of this work which I thought was quite good.
The other high point of the show came with cantiñas which Bayón dedicated to her maestros. From off-stage you heard the voices of Matilde Coral, Chano Lobato and Mario Maya, a very moving moment. The dancer worked her way around the stage and turned – the Sevilla school of dance, and a classic concept. Suddenly Chano could be heard singing alegrías for Isabel to grab the cante like the salt in Cádiz Bay, a magnificent finish. The audience was grateful and flamenco dance in general can be grateful the basics of dance have not been forgotten.
“FLAMENCO SCHOOL MUSICAL” COMPAÑÍA LAURA VITAL
Cante: Laura Vital; Guitar : Eduardo Rebollar; Dance: Juan Amaya; Percussion: David Chupete
Text: Gonzalo Montaño Peña
Laura Vital, cante teacher at a Seville conservatory, plays the part of a flamenco school teacher, a place that gets down to the business of teaching the basic forms of the genre.
Flamenco in school is the big black hole in Spanish education. For this reason, the quest for methods and courses to establish the connection is becoming more and more common.
Flamenco School has many circus-like elements aimed at getting kids to laugh while at the same time stimulating their curiosity and accustoming their ears to the sounds and rhythms of flamenco.
The script, the cast (fine musicians), the stage-set, the cantes chosen and the length of the program were all just right.
The jokes fly, the characters are a delight and the cantes aren’t too long in order to hold children’s attention. The children have a good time and so do the parents.
This is a recommendable show as introduction to flamenco for children; it gives them a good time and entertains the whole family. However, if the idea is to create future followers of this art-form, cultivate taste and spread the understanding of flamenco among youngsters, it’s the parents who have to assume responsibility. Children do what they see, and if the parents like the music, their children will probably get used to it as well.
What I mean to point out is these experiences are well and good, are certainly well-intentioned and cover one of flamenco’s blind spots. But if the objective is to educate, we need to begin with musical education of the public at large (beginning with the media, who should support flamenco in the first place), and this will in turn have an effect on children.