Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque

June 11, 2004

Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque
Rodey Theater

Albuquerque, New Mexico

June 11–19, 2004

Reviewed by Ninotchka Bennahum


Albuquerque sparkled with eight splendid nights of Gypsy, Spanish, and American interpretations of flamenco dance and music during the city’s eighteenth Festival Flamenco Internacional, hosted by the University of New Mexico and producer Eva Enciñas Sandoval. This year was dedicated to the Sevillian school of flamenco, a pure Gypsy and, recently, postmodern Spanish canon of talented dancers and choreographers. Of note were the Albuquerque-based Yjastros, directed by Joaquín Enciñas, with its homegrown dancers, and the Galváns, a brother, Israel, and sister, Pastora. Israel is a rising star, uniquely conceptual in his choreography, infinite in his physical capacity as a dancer.

Opening the festival was world-renowned Gypsy dance artist Mañuela Carrasco, a representative of the nineteenth-century Sevillian school of Andalusian flamenco, and her small company: singers El Extremeño, a very fine, young Zamara Amador (Carrasco’s son), and an unseasoned Marina Alvarez Osorio (Carrasco’s daughter); guitarists Joaquín Amador (Carrasco’s husband) and Miguel Iglesias; and two male dancers, the talented Rafael de Carmen and El Torombo.

An enormous stage personality endowed with a tall, powerful physique, Carrasco exudes intensity. She opened her show, “Así Baila Sevilla,” with the first of two beautifully danced solos, Bulerías del Golpe, an original creation, followed by Seguirillas, the deep song, the Giselle of flamenco.

Bulerías del Golpe opens on a Carmen-esque set of deep reds and burnt orange, lit and designed by John Malolepsy, into which Carrasco steps. At first enclosed in a bull-pen-like box, she ultimately becomes free, drilling her heeled shoes into the floor.

Lifting her long arms to the sky, Carrasco begins Seguirillas costumed in a long red dress with matador’s jacket. Using large arm movements and finger rolls to tempt the audience into her dancing, she offered an intense, twenty-minute journey into the pure flamenco technique of southern Gypsy dance. Embodying a sense of the past, Carrasco’s five-movement Seguirillas reveals the emotional depth and physical power of the solo female dancer. El Extremeño and Amador stand so near to Carrasco’s dancing that they seem to close in on her quicksilver movements, intensifying the solo nature of her theater.

For more information: www.feelflamenco.com/festival_pages/festival.html