nytheatre.com review by Megin Jimenez
August 17, 2012
Simplemente Flamenco is true to its title: one singer, a guitarist, a flautist and a percussionist burst forth with music, and two dancers bring the fiery flamenco tradition to life on an otherwise empty stage. Dance numbers alternate with musical interludes; guitarist Raphael Brunn's smoky, wandering improvisation are a special highlight, while the haunting voice of Barbara Martinez seems to be the secret force that binds the dancers entirely to the shifts in melody, volume, mood.
The atmosphere is intimate, almost informal when the musicians bark words of encouragement as the tempo and intensity increase. You nearly feel like an esteemed visitor more than anonymous audience member as you witness the collective jam between music and dance.
Flamenco is not subtle; it holds you fast and overwhelms the senses. The mind cannot wander away from the wail of its songs, the stomping rhythms. Dancers Marina Elana and Rebeca Tomás leave you with a sense of uniquely feminine strength and pride. Their back-to-back solos offer a contrast of light and shadows. Tomás is smiling, flirtatiously sunny as she navigates the tricky bata de cola, while Elana dances a slow burn in a dark velvet dress, her exquisite hand movements offering hypnotic grace in opposition to the steps furiously marking complex beats below. The lighting design by Christina Verde offers some welcome views of the dancers in silhouette, statue poses.
When it’s done, the audience gives a group exhale, it was a fast ride. For coming from such a long tradition, Simplemente Flamenco offers an out of the ordinary experience, making it most at home at FringeNYC.