November 14, 2015
A tiny figure in black pants and white bolero knocks a hanging lamp into a pendulum swing at the top of the show at Repertorio Espanol. Born in 1975, Olga Pericet begins with an aggressive solo the main gesture resembling the attack of a bullfighter’s banderillas. Set to the guitar work by Pablo Martin Jhones and Estudio No. 1 de guitar by the Brazilian composer Villa Lobos, this piece called “Studio Light On” takes Pericet zigzagging across the stage striking the air high and low like a myopic matador who lost sight of his bull.
That first swipe at the lamp is perhaps a metaphor for how this artist positions herself within the flamenco world; Pericet loves to swing, rhythmically, emotionally, and conceptually. She knows her art so well that she plays constantly within a phrase or a genre, inserting her personality with insouciant charm. The eleven pieces in her program draw inspiration from La Escuela Bolera, folk, classical, and latin inspired form Guajira, which she performed with a fan.
This 140 seat theatre is a perfect fit for a petite dancer and her outstanding musicians: guitarist/composer Antonia Jimenez, singers Jose Angel Carmona, and Ismael Fernandez, all of whom grew up in Andalusia - Cordoba, Sevilla, and Cadiz, steeped in flamenco. Jimenez has a memorable, warm touch; the penetrating voices of Carmona and Fernandez blend beautifully.
Pericet continually surprises us with her unusual versatility and chameleon quality, as she switches from the solemnity of a Solea - Alegrias de Cordoba performed in a bata de cola, the dress of the late 19th century with a long train, and Taranto, to her madcap take on a “Malaguena.” An audience favorite is her Cantinas performed with an enormous red and white manton (shawl) which she twirls effortlessly and her long red dress.
Her smorgasbord approach to programming leaves the audience with a rainbow of intensities and ideas. A dancer with considerable imagination and presence, she spices her choreography with subtle pellizcos, a flamenco version of a Baroque trill. But most of all, she dances with a natural grace, shading each phrase with the honed creativity of a master.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers