Flamenco dancers like controlling their performances, from direction and choreography to music, lights, and costumes. But for Friday’s program at Flamenco Festival USA, presenter Miguel Marin is shaking things up. “I wanted to see what happened when I brought Spanish and American artists together on the same project,” he says, “and put a director in charge.” Calling the show The Four Elements, Marin asked four distinguished dancers to create solos, representing wind, water, earth, and fire. He then invited choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi to direct, fashion designer Miguel Adrover to make the costumes, guitarist Gerardo Nuñez to do the musical arrangement, and Clifton Taylor to design the lights. They worked together for a month before the world premiere last October in Madrid.
“The dancers were used to standing in one spot,” says Buglisi. “I had to get them to move to make the transitions between sections.” Carmen Cortés, who performs the fire solo, says, “Jacqui gave the piece structure and helped us identify the intention behind our movements.” Interpreting water, Rocío Molina was inspired by her blue dress and a backdrop of flowing light projections. “It makes a world of difference to have a context when you dance,” she says.