Social Studies

A City Streetscape, a Friendly Struggle, and a Spanish Community

The darkness at the heart of flamenco—the guitars, the wail of gypsy voices in cante jondo, the coiling wrists, the angry feet and curving backs—never fails to entrance an audience. In the second half of Lorca's 1986 Luz y Sombra, the enchantress of Andalusian folklore, La Petenera, becomes Death. La Meira and Fermín Calvo de Mora are thrilling—she wielding her long rustling train, her shawl, her seductive wiles; he entranced, emboldened, then increasingly terrified. His heelwork speaks of panic, hers of remorseless stalking. After he has finally fallen, she drags her skirt slowly across his inert body.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana at the Joyce: Still dazzling at 30
photo: Richard Termine
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana at the Joyce: Still dazzling at 30


Magnetic Laboratorium
Lower East Side
May 29 through June 1

Mob Productions
Joyce Soho
June 5 through 7

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Joyce Theater
June 10 through 15

Hidalgo's new Bailes de Ida y Vuelta traces the influence of the diaspora of Spanish culture—with elements of Latin American, Caribbean, and African American jazz feeding back into flamenco music. There's lots of byplay in this café cantante of culture on the move. Barrels, bags, and boxes rearranged become tables and chairs. Porch rockers appear, straw hats are donned, shirts get looser. It's entertaining, if slightly confusing (the company's printed program, in general, gives skimpy information, particularly on matters of casting). I was especially taken with a brief passage for the company's four men (who include Zenón Ramos and Jairo Rodríguez), in which they turn their moderate-tempo foot rhythms into four-part counterpoint. Olé!

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