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 Post subject: Flamenco Festival at Sadler's Wells 2006
PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2006 2:03 am 
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Dancing with the dark side
by MARK MONAHAN for the Daily Telegraph

Tradition has it that the essential inspiration of any flamenco dancer is a duende, or demon, and Ballet Nacional's performers seem positively possessed. Throughout the two works - the emotive, compact Grito, and the more substantial La Leyenda - their technique is perfect, their physical beauty shaming, their passion irresistible. The result is a performance that genuinely deserves the epithet "explosive", and it sends shivers down the spine.

"The public here is very receptive to flamenco," says José Antonio, Ballet Nacional's engaging director, when we meet the following morning. "And very spontaneous too. Last night, they really understood it."

published: January 21, 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:15 pm 
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Sabores
By Katie Phillips for The Stage

The Spanish are good at many things - particularly food and wine. In this vein, Sara Baras has named her performance as part of the Sadler’s Wells Annual Flamenco Festival ‘Flavours’, as if to whet our appetites for the following weeks of Spanish dance.

And like a rich rijoca that gets better with age, so the performance becomes more enjoyable as the evening progresses.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:49 pm 
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Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

Sara Baras is one of Spain's proudest flamenco exports. Such is the control of her footwork that she can flip in a second from an awesome, rhythmic drilling to a delicate web of sound. Such is the eloquence of her arm movements that they can evoke the steel of a toreador as well as the insinuating charm of a houri. When her turns start flashing, you know this is a woman who can dance up not just a flamenco storm, but a hurricane.

published: February 13, 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 15, 2006 2:49 pm 
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Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

Sara Baras is one of Spain's proudest flamenco exports. Such is the control of her footwork that she can flip in a second from an awesome, rhythmic drilling to a delicate web of sound. Such is the eloquence of her arm movements that they can evoke the steel of a toreador as well as the insinuating charm of a houri. When her turns start flashing, you know this is a woman who can dance up not just a flamenco storm, but a hurricane.

published: February 13, 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 3:05 am 
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Fancy footwork and diva worship
by ZOE ANDERSON for the Independent

Baras, who appeared at the 2005 festival, has "got art" since we last saw her. Her strength and skill is still there, but you have to wait longer for it. There's a lot of wafting around.

published: February 15, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:12 am 
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Ballet Nacional de Espanña
by JUDITH MACKRELL for the Guardian

If nuances of ballet creep into the dancing, the repertory also aspires to a quasi-ballet model. Director José Antonio has more than 30 dancers at his disposal, who he uses to build elaborate choral numbers (long lines of men stamping in union, groups of women fanning in intricate patterns), as well as to push flamenco towards more narrative terrain.

published: February 21, 2006
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 Post subject: SARA BARAS AT SADLER’S WELLS
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:02 am 
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Location: London
On 10th February, Sara Baras and her company opened the Flamenco Festival organised by Sadler’s Wells every year, presenting a programme that had been premiered a few months ago in Paris, “Sabores”.

“Sabores” is dedicated to Concha, Sara’s mother and it is a journey through the different styles of flamenco. Beginning with a Bolero, when the company simply introduces itself through rehearsal routines, the piece only takes off with the Tangos, and from then on, it moves effortlessly through the different numbers, that include a Seguiriya, Taranto and Alegrías.

Baras’s company is made of dancers who are good, though not outstanding. They fill in the gaps for her appearances, that are the real gems of her spectacle. There are two other soloists, Luis Ortega and José Serrano. Ortega performed the Seguiriya with castanets and Serrano the Alegrías. Both bailaores displayed good zapateado technique and the rythms they both achieved were outstanding. Moreover, they easily engaged with the audience and, most importantly with the musicians, who were on stage accompanying the dancers.

However, it was Sara Baras herself who showed the power of her charisma on stage. From the moment she appeared, she managed to engage with the audience through true enjoyment of her dancing... and her joy was contagious. But beyond that, her zapateado had a clarity that was extraordinary. Her Zambra was simply beautifully danced, with a virtuoso technical approach and yet, the soul of flamenco at its purest.

Flamenco is a difficult dance form to put onto the stage. It requires “duende” (goblin), that special quality that transforms dancers and puts them in a state of trance with their dance and their inner rhythm and soul. Sara Baras in her zapateado numbers managed to get near that state. I just wish that the rest of the company had had that special quality to their dance. Though they were not bad, they did not reach that state where magic happens on stage.


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 Post subject: BALLET NACIONAL DE ESPAÑA
PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 6:11 am 
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On Friday 17th February, Ballet Nacional de España opened their programme at Sadler’s Wells as part of the Flamenco Festival.

The history of the company is troublesome. In 1979 the Spanish Government decided to create this company at the same time as the classical company, that has now become the Compañía Nacional de Danza directed by Nacho Duato. Since then, both companies have desperately tried to acquire some kind of identity that, in the case of the Ballet Nacional, has caused constant changes of directorship.

The present director, José Antonio, had directed the group before and has been obviously brought back in order to revitalise the company, which to this day, remains a bit of a puzzle in terms of what it really represents. For a company that is supposed to represent Spanish folk dance, the emphasis is overwhelmingly anchored in the Andalucian tradition and there seems to be little room for other dance forms that, as a national company, it should represent.

However, that is the reason why it was brought to Sadler’s Wells as part of the Flamenco Festival, and therefore the programme they chose for the occasion established this trend in an obvious way.

The first piece was “Grito”, choreographed by Antonio Canales. The work was a collection of different flamenco rhythms and dances, Alegrías and Soleás. The dancers were simply beautiful to see. The lines, the synchronisation of their dance, their zapateado was so clear and beautiful, that, at times it seemed to lack the crudeness and directness that real flamenco is supposed to have.

The second piece was “Golpes da la Vida” (Life strikes hard). It was a narrative piece on the conflict between an old teacher and a young student. Choreographed by José Antonio, who also took the role of the old teacher, the piece showcased the amazing talent of Pol Vaquero. I am not very sure about the possibilities of flamenco –or any other folk dance for that matter- and narrative. However, the powerful performances of both dancers, the stage presence of José Antonio and the virtuosity of Vaquero, made one forget the excesses of the narrative gestures and enjoy superb dancing.

The last piece “La Leyenda” was a homage to Carmen Amaya, a legend in the flamenco world. The piece had two main bailaoras taking the role of Amaya, both as Woman and as The Immortal. The choreography was, once again by José Antonio, who by not sticking to any narrative in his piece, managed very successfully to convey the magic of a performer who transcended her art form and life. Úrsula López was the woman and Elena Algado was the immortal. Both dancers displayed virtuosity and passion. The piece presented the whole company at its best and most varied and there were moments when one could witness rare beauty on the stage. No wonder flamenco is so popular, no wonder the company uses it as a calling card wherever they go. The variety, the sheer beauty of its elements and dances make audiences enjoy a display of colour, rhythm and passion that never seems to cease.

Ballet Nacional de España may have difficulties still in trying to define itself within the country it represents. As it appears now, the company is a wonderful example of the beautiful dancers that Spain can produce and of the richness and exuberance of flamenco and Andalucian dance. At its weakest, it is a very partial example of what Spanish dance really is.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2006 7:11 am 
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Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, Sadler's Wells, London
by Clement Crisp for the Financial Times

Hoyos, a venerated figure in Spanish dance, offers sinuosities, outbursts of speech from ground level, on a suitcase and perched on a table (ours not to reason why), and the guitars play, the singers bay, and nothing even remotely dispelled the yawning boredom that I felt.

published: February 27, 2006
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