Nuevo Ballet Espanol

'Flamenco Directo'

by Rosella Simonari

25th July 2003 -- Teatro Rossini, Civitanova, Italy

Born as a two-member company, Nuevo Ballet Espanol has soon became a company of nine which tours with a live flamenco band.  The founding members, Carlos Rodriguez and Angel Rojas are now the joint artistic directors and choreographers.  Their creative energy spans from genuine flamenco to contemporary dance.

"Flamenco Directo" at the Teatro Rossini in Civitanova opened with a piece called "Directos", characterised by an oriental touch. The opening is a series of hands placed beside some pairs of flamenco shoes, everything else is dark. Then the dance starts with the full company performing with bare feet. Men and women are dressed alike with black tops and pants.

The second choreography "Horizontes" is a duet between Ana Agraz and Carlos Rodriguez. It introduces the audience to a more genuine flamenco performance. Then we see "Lunaticos", where two couples interact on stage.

After this a solo piece performed by Carlos Rodriguez, "Mil Besos", an astonishing and vibrant example of excellent flamenco. The bailaor becomes possessed by his feet and thunderous strength gives him the charismatic energy to move through this storm of steps. The audience is thrilled and in suspense and exults at the final zapateados (the beating of the full foot on to the floor). This is definitely the climax of the night.

"Playas del alma" involves the entire company guided by a powerful Angel Rojas. An intense piece where the dancers impressed with their synchronised steps.

Then a pause to calm down our souls. The company is unique with respect to other new flamenco company for the profound relationship they have with their musicians. The musical group Canadu compose most of the music and performs live upstage creating a kind of familiar gypsy atmosphere.

The second half opens with a duet between Rojas and Rodriguez. They each wear an open white shirt and perform a beautiful piece, each of them highlighting their own way of dancing flamenco. Rodriguez is incredibly flexible and quick; Rojas is rougher and more powerful.

Other pieces are performed where the five women of the company express their ability to move. Unfortunately the choreographies created for them are much poorer of virtuosi tic zapateados, they are rather centred on gesture and rich dresses. A pity, as the dancers seem to have high potential.

Nuevo ballet Espanol is an exciting new company, with great dancers and an original interpretation of flamenco, which adds a new dimension without betraying its tradition!

Edited by Stuart Sweeney

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