Tough broad: Barrio


Folks rising in ovation at the edge of Theater 80’s low-riding, tiny stage could well pitch forward and plant big ones on their favorite performers’ lips. Soledad Barrio and her outstanding Noche Flamenca colleagues—dancers Antonio “El Chupete” Rodriguez and Bruno Argenta, guitarists Jesus Torres and Eugenio Iglesias, and singers Manuel Gag and Miguel Picuo—come close to testing this possibility several times during their rousing presentation. Although concert flamenco has absorbed loads of foreign matter, Barrio and Martin Santangelo (her husband and artistic partner) continue to eschew contaminants and froufrou in favor of flamenco red in tooth and claw. Barrio dances like a champion, a confrontational toughie. Her accuracy and mind-blowing speed only enhance, never sacrifice, realness. In Alegrias, Argenta—a dandyish David Bowie twin built for ballet—remarkably keeps charging, simply wearing you out. Rodriguez—dark, rumpled hybrid of Russell Crowe and Johnny Damon—seems plucked from some Andalusian bar where the dancing is hot, gritty, and intoxicating. Partnering Barrio in Tangos or stepping out alone in Solea por Bulerias, he dances straight from the heart. Noche Flamenco satisfies because Santangelo and Barrio know how to interweave dancers, singers, and musicians effectively, allowing each creative element secure and equal footing.