Farruquito dancing at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival
I missed Eva Yerbabuena through covering Nottdance, so Farruquito’s performance tonight was the first I saw at the 10th Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival. As always with the flamenco festival things ran late (or so it seems to me). We (the photographers) were waiting outside the auditorium for a good while, then inside the auditorium when they tested the table for sound. Then Farruquito himself came out to perform on the table top and we were finally able to start shooting.
Photocalls can last for anything between about 20 minutes and several hours and normally give us two or three different scenes to shoot. This time we got the one scene and 20 minutes which felt much less. It didn’t feel as if we even had 10 minutes this time although I know it was more from the time stamps on my images. I’m not sure whether this was because Farruquito’s indisputable mastery made me loose my sense of time, because we only had the one scene to shoot or because he stopped abruptly and said in Spanish ‘that’s it. Now I need to go and rest.’
There is no doubt that both Farruquito and Karime Amaya are at the top of their game and they delivered avalanches of awesome flamenco. I enjoyed the use of projected imagery and fake mist. The changes in rhythm, subtle soft and strident zapateo (footwork) expressive bodies and genuine aire were wonderful. The cantaora (singer) sang with such depth (sometimes pure and sometimes with visceral harmonics) that even the memory of the feelings she evoked make the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
It was a little monotonous and while I loved the way the musicians and set made for beautiful black silhouettes, that same business interfered with my appreciation of the dancers. The use of strobe lighting (thankfully only twice and briefly) was an assault on my senses and I wasn’t even able to look at the shadow it cast without wincing and I’d have liked for the show to have started on time.
The standing ovation was well deserved, but a few simple changes could have made the experience much better.