New York City Center and Flamenco Festival 2023 Present 'ALMA' by Sara Baras

New York City Center and Flamenco Festival 2023 Present "ALMA" by Sara Baras

By: Mar. 28, 2023
New York City Center and Flamenco Festival 2023 Present 'ALMA' by Sara Baras

To fill all 2,257 seats at New York City Center with infectious joy seems like a hard task to execute, but not for Sara Baras in her evening-length work Click Here, presented by Flamenco Festival 2023. Baras, a living Spanish legend with over 30 years of worldwide performances under her belt, pulls from her Southwestern Spanish roots to continue flooring audiences with tension, rhythm, and star power. She is, "...a woman who can dance up not just a flamenco storm, but a hurricane," states Click Here. An evident mutual adoration and respect is visible between Baras and her dancers, all seven unified by a pure love for the artistry and technique of flamenco. ALMA forces the audience out of their seats for over three standing ovations, each time more enthusiastic than the last.

As a spotlight glows over every dancer hovering over a standing microphone, suspense is present. Eventually all six are illuminated as steaming fog pours over the stage, creating an enticing atmosphere of the world that is flamenco. A mystery in the first couple minutes occurs: where is the music coming from? Initially hidden behind a string curtain, Baras and all live musicians including two vocalists, are revealed through Chiqui Ruiz's exptertise lighting. Framed by the vocalists in a long black and white patterned dress, Baras looks out to the audience with absolutely no fear.

New York City Center and Flamenco Festival 2023 Present 'ALMA' by Sara Baras

Once Baras's solo begins, there is no choice to look away. The tension and articulation in her legs and heels burst through the floor as she dances to the rhythm of her own two feet. For anyone seeing flamenco in live action for the first time, it is a jaw dropping experience. Her focus is laser sharp as the solo turns a capella, mixing suspenseful silence frozen in time with footwork so impossibly fast yet unimaginably crisp. Every movement is an artistic choice, every smile is pure and genuine. As her solo finishes, purple light floods the stage as clapping reverberates in the orchestra level.

In ALMA, the musicians are not a separate entity to the dancers. Onstage together, music is celebrated as much as dance, harmoniously working together to share traditional flamenco with bolero rhythms. The guitarist and saxophone player both perform solos adding a type of personality and flare only possible with live music entertainment. Midway through the work, the musicians are the primary focus on stage, up close and center in glowing green and yellow light. Peaceful and rhythmic, every musical artist transports to the beautiful country of Spain. Even the audience contributes to the performance's soundtrack, enthusiastically clapping in sync with each other.

Luis F. Dos Santos's costume design complements Baras's choreography with beautiful graphic patterns, silky tailored blazers, sparkling gala type dresses, and blue lengthy, billowing dresses. The fabric moves in mesmerizing patterns, sometimes in sync flowing diagonally and over the shoulders of dancers, other times individual, as Baras wears a floor length black dress and fringed shawl which whips around her torso as she moves. For one of the costume changes, the stage transforms into a changing room. Every female company dancer takes off a dress to put on a black button up and pants, as peaceful piano echoes the room. The transition is beautiful and seamless, such is every other moment of Baras's work.

ALMA is an unforgettable love letter to the art and origins of flamenco, propelled by Sara Baras and executed by her company and all of the musicians. The performance is a celebration: of flamenco, dance, music, community, and culture. Watching Baras radiate such depth in her love for her dancers and flamenco inflicts such a feeling of engaging excitement. Baras spreads a nonverbal message loud and clear; flamenco is power and joy.

Flamenco Festival Artistic Director and Producer: Miguel Marin

Choreography by: Sara Baras

Music by: Keko Baldomero

Staging by: Sara Baras

Scenery Design by: Peroni and Garriets

Costume Design by: Luis F. Dos Santos

Lighting Design by: Chiqui Ruiz

Sound Design and Technical Director: Sergio Sarmiento

Dancers: Sara Baras, Cristina Aldón, Chula García, Charo Pedraja, Daniel Saltares, Marta De Troya, Noelia Vilches

Musicians: Rubio De Pruna, Matías López 'El Mati', Keko Baldomero, Andrés Martínez, Antón Suárez, Manuel Muñoz 'El Pájaro', Diego Villegas

New York City Center is located at 131 W 55th St, New York, NY 10019. The Center has an extrordinary line-up of shows. For more information, please visit the City Center web site at Click Here.

Photo Credit: Sofia Wittert


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