FOREVER FLAMENCO! at the Fountain Review - Intense Flamenco Performance

What is Flamenco?  Flamenco is a mélange of many different dance forms and musical styles, from the sitars and finger cymbals of India to Turkey’s belly dance.  It is a musical form that has traveled with the gypsy people, picking up the best of the musical styles and dance that it encountered along the way, and making them its own.  Flamenco tells the story of its people, people who are destined to roam and have no home, only the home that is found in each other.  Flamenco tells the story of life:  love found, love lost, moments of happiness and moments of pain that are inevitable and universal for us mortals.  Flamenco, being the sensual, intimate art form that it is, cannot be performed just anywhere, by just anyone.  For exactly this reason, the Fountain Theatre is the ideal setting to host Forever Flamenco, one of the most intense flamenco performances currently running in Los Angeles.



The performance started promptly at 8:00 p.m. when Timo Nuñez walked slowly on stage.  There was absolutely no need for the ushers to remind the audience to be silent, as when Nuñez appeared on stage, all eyes were on him and all jaws were on the floor (it couldn’t have been just mine!)  Standing at well over six feet tall, his intense gaze and graceful movements immediately commanded the audience’s attention.  The first number was a martinete a dúo performed by Nuñez and La Pamela (Pamela Lourant.)  Their taconeo (heel/footwork) and braceo (arm movements) were in nearly perfect sync and their chemistry is almost tangible.  Their movements were sexy without being overly erotic, and their footwork was intricate without coming across as showy.  


The soleá por bulería was performed by Briseyda Zarate.  She is a petite woman, but her on stage presence is huge.  Her passion for flamenco is worn on her face as she dances, and her intensity for the dance was unrivaled by the rest of the dancers.  
   



Alegrías were performed by La Pamela.  Her unique style of dancing brings an air of individuality to the performance and there exists an almost sassiness about her which leaves the audience wanting more.  In particular, her beautiful smile and graceful arm and hand movements kept the audience rapt for her entire dance solo (including my extremely restless seven year-old, who has a chronic case of ants-in-her-pants.)

The dancers were accompanied by Jesús Montoya on vocals and José Tanaka on guitar.  Montoya’s voice is the image of Spain, and in it he brings the love, pain and beauty which is flamenco to the audience, and together with the incredibly talented Tanaka (who left his native Japan to study flamenco guitar with Spanish gypsies at the age of 24) they provided the dancers with music as beautiful as their own movements.

At the end of the show, Nuñez recognized a familiar face in the audience, and brought out dancer Mizuho Sato for a solo of her own.  Even in a sweater and jeans Ms. Sato blended right in with the rest of La Compañía (dance company), reminding us that flamenco is not about the clothes you wear, or the way you look - it is about the way you feel.  And the way you feel when your walk out of a Forever Flamenco performance is pretty darn fabulous.

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