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Flamenco Journal, 3-7: Compas & Charisma
Sister Sizzles, Grilo Fizzles; Barrio & Co. at the Pub
Copyright 2006 The Dance Insider
PARIS -- I'm told by
those who know Flamenco better than I do that Joaquin Grilo is,
at the least, a rising star, a master of compas or rhythm.
Indeed, many others in the audience for Grilo's show last Thursday
at the Cirque d'Hiver, including my flamenca companion, were charmed
by the young man with the electric feet. I preferred the tremors
sent up my spine by his singing sister, Carmen Grilo, apparently
one of the best-kept secrets in Flamenco, and by the traditional
Sevillian dances of his partner, Rosario Toledo.
Carmen Grilo's singing
is not for the faint of heart. Indeed, one even gets the feeling
she is restraining herself, lest she overwhelm us. Unfortunately,
there was not enough of her in what seemed an abbreviated one-act
program more interested in extended solos from her brother and Toledo.
When Grilo casually tossed his suit jacket to his sister, the gesture
almost seemed disrespectful, as if to indicate she was just part
of the scenery, there to catch his disgarded props.
As for Grilo's dancing,
it was his fluid upper-body experiments -- showing the influence
of Antonio Canales -- that interested my companion, who they struck
as unusual for Flamenco men. While I saw her point -- the classic
male flamenco torso is usually more erect -- for me the fluid spine
did not seem so new and, as explored by Grilo, ill-defined. He wasn't
doing anything interesting with it. Instead, this Tom Cruise look-a-like
seemed to rely more on pure charisma, albeit aided by the significant
power of his ever-reverberating feet.
By contrast, Toledo's
bata de cola or long gown with train dance -- a retro-trend
these days, I'm told -- seemed more experimental, especially as
regards subtle changes in the way she twisted her spine, regarded
the floor, and spaced her feet. If at the beginning of her extended
solo she appeared to be grappling with the train, by the end she
had mastered it and the space.
The Grilo show was part
of the Paris International Flamenco Festival, produced by Flamenco
Production, based in Southern France. The promoter's Geneva festival
runs March 9 - 12, opening Thursday with Duquende and Chicuelo.
Noche Flamenca Watch
Back in the United States,
few have done so much to maintain the integrity of Flamenco as Martin
Santangelo, artistic director of Noche Flamenca, and Soledad Barrio,
the company's firey star. As a Flamenco colleague put it to me recently,
"Noche is there to show us what the real deal is supposed to be."
If you're in New York this week, you can check the real Flamenco
deal at Joe's Pub, where Noche Flamenca is performing Wednesday
through Sunday, with shows at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night. (Barrio
will also be teaching two-hour classes on Saturday and Sunday, at
Fazil's.) Look for the siguiriya from Barrio, the solea
por bulerias from Alejandro Granados, and tango duets. The dancers
will be joined by singers Manuel Gago and Emilio Florido and guitarist
Eugenio Iglesias. For more details, please visit the Joe's Pub website.