Performing Arts: Dance
March 9, 2014
After 14 years, the flamenco festival is indeed a NYC institution. To honor it’s roots, Juan Ramón Martínez Salazar, Consul General of Spain in New York awarded Robert Browning, founder of the World Music Institute, with the “Cross of the Order of Civil Merit” in recognition of his extraordinary service for the benefit of Spain. Festival director, Miguel Marin joined Browning on stage.

In the early days, dancers and musicians were quilted together in hopes that everyone would show up and perform what they promised. Now, top performers, collected by Festival director Miguel Marin, vie to participate in the festival that has spread to several venues around the city. This year’s Gala Flamenca, directed by Ángel Rojas, gathered some of flamenco’s finest. In the first piece, dancers came out one by one, presenting their signature style as a way of introducing themselves.

An excellent evening of music and dance, men’s heels drilled into the floor under torsos held in a hyper-extended erectness while arms twisted at the wrists. Dominating their own power universe, the women –particularly Karime Amaya towered over the stage. From the moment she stepped in the light, Amaya exerted a strength bolstered by a provocative musicality. In a Seguiriya, Amaya trilled her foot so that minute vibrations circulated up and down her leg. Her proud bearing and powerful hips shaped the images and sounds produced by the singers Antonio Campos and Ismael de la Rosa, the guitarists Paco Cruz and Daniel Jurado, the violinist Roman Gottwald and the percussionist Miguel El Cheyenne.

Theatrical comic relief was injected by the portly, flambouyant Antonio Canales. Displaying technical snap, Carolos Rodriguez and Jesus Carmona seized on some audience grabbing moments defined by spitfire turns, rapid-fire heeltaps and any number of preening gestures. In a sophisticated demonstration of flamenco married to the balletic classicism, Jesus Carmona executed a clean technique defined by an elegant torso, restrained pyrotechnics glittering inside a riveting musicality.

A trio of females decked in red, form-fitting dress and massive ruffled trains. Karime Amaya, Lucia Campillo and Carmen Coy issued a glorious demonstration of the many personalities of great women in flamenco.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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