Apologies to the cast and crew of Ballet Flamenco de Andulucia and World Music/CRASHarts! This review has been posted late to the compromised health of the Queen Geek. The work ethic of Mademoiselle Daniels is impeccable.
Photo credit: Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia
Presented by World Music/CRASHarts Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía performing the US premiere of Metáfora Friday, March 1, 7:30pm, Saturday, March 2, 8pm and Sunday, March 3, 3pm Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College, 219 Tremont St., Boston World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Page
Review by Gillian Daniels
(Boston) Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía’s Metáfora begins with a live band and several female dancers taking the stage. They drag skirts of frothing layers but with the elegance of peacock tails sighing along the floor.
When the music begins, the flurry with which they dance continues through the rest of the show. For two acts, whether the stage is sparse or full, the energy is potent and seems to fill the Cutler Majestic Theatre.
For the first half of Metáfora, the audience is treated to unfiltered flamenco. Soloists Patricia Guerrero and Eduardo Leal are briefly isolated from the rest of the company, each doing their best to enflame the crowd. They are accompanied by the voices of Juana Salazar and Cristian Guerrero. The combination brings life to a stage that feels often very isolated.
In the second half, the “ballet” part of the Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía becomes more prominent. The dancers, when the curtain rises, move in closer formation. The clothing is also more economical, meaning no more frothing skirts. Instead, viewers are treated to the addition of castanets.
Some of the dances drag here, though, where the first half seemed tighter. The pacing is off even if the dance still remains largely hypnotic. It all ends on a high note, the entire company taking the stage as they send the audience off.
I left Metáfora feeling content, but something about the set up felt too sterile to achieve the mood the company seemed to be aiming for. While I enjoyed the performance, I couldn’t help but wonder about the staging. It felt like the entire show was made for a stage at the center of a room, surrounded by people cheering on the dancers, not a stage up front divorced from the audience. The effect feels alienating. When showcasing a dance that feeds off Spanish culture and style, I hoped to be as engaged as I was the first moment the dancers of the Ballet Flamenco de Andulucía revealed themselves. I liked the show deeply but the moment of falling in love with it never came.