Back to school with Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia?

Alegrias performed by Ballet Flamenco de Andalusia at Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

Alegrias performed by Ballet Flamenco de Andalusia at Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival. (c) Carole Edrich 2013

I sometimes wonder if I should concentrate only on reviews and news from the dance photographer’s perspective. This is an example of why, since it’s a great example of how a photocall sometimes gives one no understanding at all of how the performance will be. The photocall was for the first two scenes and while they made wonderful images and I enjoyed capturing them, the performance itself didn’t appeal to me at all.

Maybe the intensity involved in attending this, the tenth Saddler’s Wells Flamenco Festival, is beginning to take its toll becaus my tolerance for time wasting is decreasing dramatically.  I was so disappointed with the first half of Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia’s production that I nearly went home at the interval. I’m so pleased I did not!

The Good Bits
Pretty much all of the second half of the performance; the fusion of contemporary and traditional, jota and flamenco were all great. It was only here that I felt the whole company come alive. Particularly memorable were Rocio Molina,  characteristically fantastic in Caminante and Esencia, which evoked the same feeling I had when anticipating the long warm freedoms of childhood summers.

The Other Bits
There’s nothing wrong with providing an introduction to all aspects of ‘Spanish Dance For Beginners’ (although I think it inappropriately basic for the sophisticated Sadler’s Wells audience) providing that the essence of flamenco is transferred. In this production, the first part of the performance felt empty and overlong and the only redeeming feature was an expressive taranta by dancers Patricia Guerrero and Eduardo Leal.

Drop the first half, concentrate on that part of production for which this performance is named and the whole thing would be much stronger.