It is said that there are four elements of flamenco: Cante, or voice; Baile, or dance; Toque, or guitar, and; Jaleo – audience participation. All were in full force at GALA Hispanic Theatre’s celebration this past weekend.
Flamenco Men 2, choreographed by Edwin Aparicio and directed by Aparicio and Aleksey Kulikov, was snazzy and seductive, presenting the strong role men play in flamenco despite many Americans’ view of flamenco as a womens’ dance. The five flamenco dancers showcased at Flamenco Men 2 are some of the most in demand within their genre. The performance was sold out.
Each of the five dancers, Edwin Aparicio, special guest stars Domingo Ortega and Ivan Vargas, and Carlos Menchaca and Norberto Chamizo displays mastery of the details of flamenco seemingly infused with the flourish of classical ballet dancers, most evident in precise hand movements and posture.
‘Martinete/Seguiriya’ danced by the whole company, shows the synchronicity found in classical flamenco troupes. Turns and stomps in unison, accompanied by graceful turns of one hand while holding open a satin vest with the other bring order to the dance Below the gross uniformity of movement are telling nuances in each performers execution.
Musicians were an integral part of the performance. Ricardo Marlow, son of the famed John E. Marlow, contributed strong guitar that colors each piece. He was accompanied by Behzad Habibzai on cajón. Acclaimed singer Curro Cueto, sometimes accompanied by Héctor Marquez, provided long vocals setting the tone for the upcoming dance. As a non-Spanish speaker, the experience would have been enhanced by the surtitles often used by GALA Hispanic Theatre. Musicians and dancers contributed to the rhythms by syncopated hand clapping.
Three artists, Ivan Vargas, Domingo Ortega, and Edwin Aparicio showcased their distinct styles during their solos. After experiencing their different approaches to flamenco, the closing company number, ‘Buleria,’ enables one to see the signature nuances of each dancer’s style.
Running Time: One hour 45 minutes, with one 15-minute intermission.
Flamenco Men 2,played from November 6 – 8, 2015 at GALA Hispanic Theatre – 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. It is the first of three productions in November 2015 in Constitute Fuego Flamenco XI (The 11th Annual Flamenco Festival). Flamenco Frecuencies plays from November 12th through the 15th with Flamenco en familia on the afternoon of November 14th. For tickets, call (202) 234-7141, or purchase them online.