Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre

pixeltracker

Flamenco is back at The Fountain Theatre! Monthly performances by different Flamenco artists and companies

BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre

September 28, 2021

The evening was quite lovely in temperature and there was excitement in the air for this performance to mark the beginning of coming back after so very long. There were many eager Flamenco fans in attendance, for a sold out performance.

After their ceremonious entrances, they each began to solo with Cantinas that were festive and engaging to watch. Lakshmi Basile, a nimble and persuading dancer who is much revered in Spain for all of her accomplishments, as well as being a sought-after teacher in the art of Flamenco, excited the crowd with her stylized rendition. Tito Nunez blended in but initiated his own rhythms, aided by the guitarists, Juan Moro and Kambiz Pakan, who skillfully guided his timing as he delighted the audience with his attitude, his stance and his demanding footwork. Reyes Barrios is the symbol of authentic, historic Flamenco dance and all its many facets. Her timing and build-up of dramatic intensity while performing is masterful. The respect among the performers is clearly seen, and is part of the character assumed in Flamenco dancing.

There was a musical interlude, with the two meticulous guitarists, Juan Moro and Kambiz Pakan, who sat facing each other as they played ~ a solo guitar at first with the accompanying chords joining in; an intricately played, invigorating melody as they sounded back and forth, like a challenge. From counterpoint, to unison at the end, they slapped their guitars to accent the downbeat in the music, with fast pizzicato fingerwork, rolling passages and the always present "yips" or "lay-lay-lays," to enliven and hasten the music.

Lakshmi Basile made a captivating entrance in a gorgeous white dress and shawl, parading around to show off it's elaborately patterned, quite lengthy train, which she worked throughout the number, using it as whip, sometimes tossing and flipping it or lamenting to it as if it were another person to the musical accents in "Tientos." BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre Her moves are majestic, measured and full, and her footwork was to a brisk 4/4 tempo, sharp and purposeful. Wonderful accents that are succinct and rapid. Under the train of the dress were brightly colored ruffles that gave a fullness to the train allowing her to really emphasize her poses and positions; arching back and then lifting up the front of her skirt enough to see her toe-tapping, heel-digging feet in action. The usage of the train is an art in itself, and with her finesse and feminine touch as a woman scorned, it became a statement, and as the tempo increased, sometimes changing rhythms, so did her emotions shown through her body movements as it ended in an intense frenzy and her fabulous exit from the stage.

Timo Nuñez soloed with "Soleá por Bulerías," a rousing and commanding piece that combined different forms of flamenco together. His crisp and immaculate timing with footwork and positions he struck only glorified his charm and passion as he attacked each movement with bravado. BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre As the guitars began to play, and Antonio de Jerez sings, Timo measures his time ever so carefully stepping forward. After a long pause, which is all part of the style and presentation of such a dance form, he begins with some galloping-sounding footwork that instantly draws you in and commands you to watch and listen. The pauses in between build the interest in paying close attention, and then a barrage of fast footwork dazzles you and makes you want more. What's even better is how he poses, stopping in the most beautiful positions, striking quite a presence in his tall, masculine and self assured attitude. He uses the stage well, strutting pompously, but with a twinkle in his eye, until his next set of heel stomps or stylized port de bras. It's all in the timing of this piece, and how he takes control of it and accelerates it continuously, very calculatingly. Each combination gets more deliberate, stomping harder, increasing the difficulty, ending in spot turns in succession, to top it off.

After an intermission, under the lovely evening sky and a cool breeze sweeping through, Reyes Barrios treated us to a solo, setting the tempo for the musicians, singing the palo "Alegrias," an uptempo upbeat song that felt like the perfect mood was cast.BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre

A pretty wild entrance was made next, by Timo Nuñez, who appeared after the whole group was whooping it up on stage; in bright red, matching vest and pants. Strutting out, posing, acting like he owned the World, knowing he has the audience in the palms of his hands already, and testing that out by raising and lowering his hands toward the audience or pointing to them with commands. He breaks into some travelling pas de bouree's across the floor, followed by more fancy heel-and-toe footwork. The music and he then coming to a slow halt, then leaping and strutting quickly at a brisk tempo, again the music slowing down to a complete halt as he stops strutting and is completely still. A slow seductive melody moves him into action again moving sensuously while doing wild port de bras and each pose he strikes, he is pulled up and arched back in perfect form. The pattern continues with a string of double attitude turns across the stage and the slowing that follows. BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre Each repeat, he amplifies more and more this cocky macho attitude, letting loose and enjoying dancing finally looking to the audience and winking, strutting off stage like a rooster.

The next to last piece, performed in solo by Lakshmi Basile, began with a haunting melody, the vocalist Antonio de Jerez joining in with his cante Jondo and chants as she emoted heavily to the music and lyrics of "Solea,". As with the other performers, she slowly builds the tension and intensity, using pauses and slow movements to begin, her arms rising slowly, then adding wrist movements, the tempo increasing while the lyrics tell of a love lost. With each phrase her body expresses deeper emotion, her posture always impeccable, and her feet are telling us of the grief and frustration she is feeling as she turns, feet furiously digging in with heels or stamping out a rhythm, working her skirt back and forth while turning and ending with what looked like nerve rolls, very rapid, full, tight foot movements. Again, the tempo and intensity of the dance accelerate, the cast clapping and snapping fingers to aid in a big finish. BWW Review: FESTIVE, FASCINATING FLAMENCO AL FRESCO at The Fountain Theatre

Last but not least, a proper Flamenco finale, entitled "Fin de Fiesta" where the three soloists take turns doing their own combinations and interacting with each other leaving us exhilarated and joyous after well-rounded performances with plenty of exciting moments.

Forever Flamenco!

Photos courtesy of Ed Krieger and Bruce Bisenz

Flamenco al Fresco's next performances are 9/24-26/2021.

For info and tickets go to The Fountain Theatre's website:

https://www.fountaintheatre.com/


Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

Buy at the Theatre Shop

T-Shirts, Mugs, Phone Cases & More

From This Author Valerie-Jean Miller