Flamenco Festival - Gala de Sevilla
Juan de Juan, Rocío Molina, Compañia Manuela Carrasco
5th Feb 2004 - Sadler's Wells, London
of Manuela Carrasco
A fertile and flourishing art form
by Lyndsey Winship
Two performers really stood out – one a matron of the old school, flamenco puro, the other a young woman who brings new vitality and a fresh slant to this proudly traditional dance.
Rocio Molina is barely 20 years old, yet carries herself with the grace, poise and presence of a seasoned performer. A prize-winning dancer, she was until recently working with Compania Maria Pages (who are at Sadler's Wells this week), but she is clearly a solo star. Molina is effortlessly imposing, her strong arms and generous curves seem to suck in all the surrounding energy, and all eyes are drawn to her.
She finds new ways to express the pain, sorrow and longing that characterise flamenco. Her hands play out a delicate story, scrolling across her body in traditional style but they also slice the air in dead straight lines and curl into fists thrust into the sky. Molina is bursting with passion; her body and face contort, overwhelmed by it all, and her heels dig into the floor, making their mark just like this young dancer.
In the second half of the gala, flamenco returns to its roots and Manuela Carrasco, the so-called 'Empress of Flamenco', demonstrates exactly why she is worthy of the title. This haughty, domineering doña is a force to be reckoned with. Surrounded by seated musicians and dancers, she recreates scenes from the bars of Triana, Seville, where she grew up. Carrasco instills all of life into her art. Body, soul, music, dance, pain, joy, love and loss are all fused together in one masterful figure.
The evening's third guest performer, Juan de Juan, has all the blistering technique and firecracker footwork you'd expect of a Bright Young Thing. He struts and stamps and begs us all to love him, but in the end it's all show off and no soul. Still, there's no doubt that these dancers really know how to throw a good fiesta.
Flamenco, fino and slivers of Spanish ham
The Sadler’s Wells
Flamenco Festival kicked off last night with “Gala de Sevilla”. With a
succession of flamenco artists and fino and slivers of Spanish ham in
the interval, it could hardly miss.