Gracias una vez mas Sevilla: Final week of La Bienal

3 Oct

On the day they find a sure fire way to prevent the common cold I’ll jump over the moon dancing a fandango. 

Too many precious weeks with flamenco teachers in Madrid, Seville and Jerez blighted by a bloody head cold. Usually a gift from the professor or a classmate. This trip followed the same maddening pattern. I perked up mid-week second week, by which time I’d nearly fainted twice from overheating (33 degrees celsius and Manuel won’t put the studio aircon on because he has a cold) and lack of oxygen (did I mention the virus moved into my lungs). Then I got the cold sores…yet another virus. Still, I have some delicious Bamberas choreography down and learned more priceless lessons at Academia Manuel Betanzos.

1) ‘Pide la guitarista.’, means that you, the dancer, must find the body language to signal to the guitarist to ask for the musical change to enter the dance and also to switch from one part of the dance to the next. Sounds so obvious, but until you listen to someone instruct the guitarist and then watch them put that smoothly and authoritatively into action it’s obscure.

2) It is not only in Bulerias that your singer may decide on a whim to sing a section longer or to repeat it (without notice). If you aren’t listening with both ears wide open you’ll miss the variation and stuff up. (Not to put too fine a point on it.)

3) When you do, inevitably, stuff up, find a solution to get back into the song and keep going!

4) Even professionals of many years experience at a high level (read Manuel Betanzos and Miguel Perez) may sometimes disagree about the best way to interpret a piece of music, which tells me that, at the end of the day, one should make the decision based on what feels right in your gut.

This has been a week of renewing flamenco friendships and making new ones. I treasure these friends. They’ve seen my struggles, made me laugh ’til I cried, filled me with admiration for the brave choices they make in their lives, and widened my world view hugely, including some things I might not wish to know…..

It’s also been filled with el arte flamenco, from Isabel Bayon and Israel Galvan’s ambitious voodoo and witches show at the vast Maestranza Theatre, to the soaring orchestral music in Anabel Veloso’s Teatro Central show, to the pure joy of Antonio Reye’s voice and Diego Morao’s guitar, to the traditional cuadro in the intimate 26-seat Triana Market theatre.

I recognised the cuadro dancer immediately, even though she was dressed very differently from the short shift dress she wore dancing bulerias por fin de fiesta at her friend’s tablao at La Caja Negra. No wonder she blitzed her remates! Luna Vilches gave us 110% in her Tientos-Tangos and then later, an Alegrias. Her compañeras, Juan Toro singing and Israel Martin playing guitar were also impressive, given that it was 1:30pm on a Friday. I was also touched that they were unperturbed by the Downs Sydrome teenager who clapped along loudly (not always en compas) to all the dance pieces.

Stuart arrived Friday night which gave us two nights more in Seville with a Museo Del Baile Flamenco show with my favourite guitarist, Miguel Perez, El Junco and Monica Hidalgo dancing, and Juan Ribera and Natalia Marin singing, plus the reward of Aire Sevilla: Los Baños Arabes and a delicious massage followed by rooftop cocktails overlooking the cathedral at sunset. 




Beetroot gazpacho – so good!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: