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Nuevo Ballet Español

by Orma Molayeme

April 22, 2006 -- Dorothy Chandler Pavillon, Los Angeles

On April 22 and 23, the Los Angeles Dorothy Chandler Pavilion presented the internationally acclaimed Nuevo Ballet Español. The company was founded, and its works have been choreographed and directed by Spanish born Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez, who initiated the new flamenco interpretation trend.

Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez's vision consists of a fusion of flamenco puro (pure) with contemporary and classical dance. Unlike traditional flamenco, the two principal male, rather than the female, dancers share the spotlight. The dancing is choreographed, as opposed to improvised, and includes ensemble in addition to solo dancing.

The opening dance, "Directos," de-emphasizes gender altogether and instead draws the audience's attention to synchronized arm and hand movements through the use of dim lighting and identical black tops and pants for the nine cast members. Beautifully coordinated steps performances by the entire cast were also present in "Playa Del Alma"and "Amonos."

The duets, "Horizontes," "Lunaticos," and "Mahera" included expressive dancing, brisk, rhythmic footwork and clapping.

The two solo pieces "Siento" and "De Corazon" performed by the principal dancers, Carlos Rodriguez and Angel Rojas, brought down the house with their exceptional zapateado, the extremely fast, energetic and precise foot taps, characteristic of traditional flamenco.

Costume designer Paloma Gomez simplified the costumes with the aim of focusing on flamenco movements without interfering with the practicality of movements and aesthetics. The costumes ofthe female dancers consisted of simple white or brown swirling dresses.

A live seven-member music ensemble included two Spanish guitars, percussion, violoncello and flute along with two singers who used Fado laments. The music, composed by the Nuevo team, was well integrated with the dances.

Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez generated excitement and laughter with their expressivemovements. The audience would often spontaneously break into a standing-ovation in the dark, during the performance.

The last standing-ovation led to the customary ”fin de fiesta,” in which the musical group, rather than the dancers, improvised flamenco dancing and singer Maria del Mar Fernandez sang a solo.

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