Week 1 & 2 Reviews + Photos * Festival de Jerez…back again without skipping a beat, by Estela Zatania
February 27, 2022
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Week 1 & 2 Reviews + Photos * Festival de Jerez…back again without skipping a beat, by Estela Zatania

Festival de Jerez * Weeks 1 & 2
Highlights & Photos

© Festival de Jerez/Javier Fergo.
All photographs are copyright Festival de Jerez/Javier Fergo and may not be reproduced without written permission.

***

WEEK 2

Festival de Jerez, second week highlights
by Estela Zatania

Wednesday, February 23rd, temperamental Jerez dancer, Manuela Carpio brought a superb cast of artists to the Villamarta theater.  Antonio Canales, La Farruca, Joaquín Grilo, Pepe Torres and Gema Moneo collectively unleashed the flamenco feeling, triggering applause as soon as the curtain went up. “La Fuente de mi Inspiración” the show is called, “the source of my inspiration”. Indeed it was enough to inspire anyone with the voices of Enrique el Extremeño, Juan José Amador, Manuel Tañé and Miguel Lavi, that’s whole lot of solid singing. Guitarists Juan Requena and Juan Diego Mateo provided the musical back-drop for this extraordinary show that was dedicated to the memory of young singer Juanillorro. A lengthy fiesta finale included Enrique Pantoja, Diego de la Margara, Torombo, Israel de Juanillorro and Iván de la Manuela,vibrant flamenco straight up, just as you’d expect from the Festival de Jerez.

©Javier Fergo, Alfonso Losa y Concha Jareño

The following day Madrid dancer Alfonso Losa, brilliant and powerful, delivered his personal version of flamenco with a learned mix of avant-garde and tradition. His reduced group included singers Ismael de la Rosa “el Bola” and the sweetly flamenco voice of Sandra Carrasco, in addition to guest dancer Concha Jareño and guitarist Francisco Vinuesa.

Rocío Molina, what can I say?  She never ceases to amaze. Popping bubble-gum and other noisy snacks added a new audio dimension that triggered giggling among the audience, as did the dancer’s gurgling chatter that wasn’t intended to be understood.  Shenanigans to a flamenco rhythm, much symbolism and Rocío’s flexible limbs surprising us again and again on this trip to fantasy-land with guitarists Eduardo Trassierra and Yerai Cortés.

©Javier Fergo, Farruquito

The usual mob scene and high excitement preceded the appearance of Farruquito with this show that featured his son El Moreno, good to go at just 10 years old, and basic elements including dancers Pepe Torres, elegant and inspired, and Karime Amaya, strong yet feminine, guitarist Manuel Valencia, Paco Vega and Manuel Parrilla, percussion and flute, and bass, Julián Heredia. References to old Farruco to remind us who started it all.

Granada dancer Manuel Liñán was directly received with wild applause as he stood motionless on-stage.  Then, some hard rock music, a gladiator aesthetic, and the rich voice of David Carpio to guide us through siguiriyas.  Much changing of costume, including wide-brimmed hats, underwear T-shirts…Liñán is bursting with ideas, and has a fine choreographic sense that puts everything together just right in this show called “Pie de Hierro”, dedicated to Manuel’s father.

Manuela Carrasco, a flamenco goddess with exotic beauty and dynamic personality, received a warm ovation. Her show “Aires de Mujer” was more given over to four voices, those of Anabel Valencia, María Vizárraga, Samara Carrasco and Ezequiel Montoya.  The women did a fine job with siguiriyas and liviana for Manuela’s superb opening, and the famous soleá to close with a tribute to la Susi who was Manuela’s sister-in-law.

©Javier Fergo

Veteran dancer Javier Barón presented his show, “Entre Mujeres”, a wistful look at the passage of time, and nostalgia for things or people who no longer exist. The following day, the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía offered a varied and colorful show tinged with Lorca, with references from folklore to avant-garde.

©Javier Fergo, Antonio Molina, ‘El Choro’

Huelva dancer El Choro gave an intense performance, on-stage for the entire duration of his latest work “#SiDiosKiere”, supported by a strong back-up of singers and guitarists, and the following night Mercedes de Córdoba delighted the audience with her fanciful creation “Sí Quiero” which, included taranto, petenera, alegrías de Córdoba, romeras and other flamenco pieces, in particular Mercedes’ powerful dance por soleá.  All in all, a fresh take on flamenco with abundant humourous moments.

©Javier Fergo, Antonio el Pipa y Manuela Carrasco

And for the closing night of this mega event, a perennial Jerez favorite, Antonio el Pipa with his 25thanniversary show, “Bodas de Plata”.  He danced his classic alegrías/cantinas with the voice of José Valencia, and partnered guest artist Manuela Carrasco, a historic flamenco moment to end the 26th Festival de Jerez.

***

WEEK 1

This year, celebrating its 26th edition, the most important event of Spanish and flamenco dance has again managed to organize a varied and interesting program that highlights both top-flight stars, and promising newcomers.

©Javier Fergo, Ballet Nacional de España

This is one of the few events that didn’t skip a 2021 edition, and only suffered minor rescheduling as a result of the Covid pandemic.  The main program got off to a spectacular start on February 17th with the Ballet Nacional de España, and their beautiful show dedicated to the memory of Antonio Ruiz Soler, “Antonio”, on the centennial of his birth, under the direction of Rubén Olmo, and featuring the most famous choreographies of the legendary dancer, from bolero school to regional dances and of course flamenco. The tremendous luxury of a real live philharmonic orchestra, fabulous costumes and the impeccable discipline of the numerous interpreters made for a joyful experience.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

On Saturday, legendary concert guitarist Victor Monge “Serranito” kicked off his farewell tour called “Como un Sueño”.  The repertoire included taranto, soleá, farruca and other pieces, with an aroma of jazz.  At the end of the recital, he was presented with an honorary plaque in recognition of his very long career.

©Javier Fergo, Victor Monge “Serranito”

Jerez dancer Mercedes Ruiz presented her show “Segunda Piel”, a Lorca-based work for young traditionalists with the fine guitar of Santiago Lara, flamenco stirred, not shaken, with some beautiful lighting effects, and Mercedes on stage nearly the entire time.

©Javier Fergo, Mercedes Ruiz

The great veteran singer Pansequito gave a terrific recital with some of his standard repertoire, and a few new things as well, accompanied by Miguel Salado on guitar. Devoted followers of this singer from La Línea filled the spacious winery where this type of recital is held.

©Javier Fergo, Pansequito

Dancer Carmen Cortés, with a large cast of artists, worked out her Lorca angst and offered some exciting dancing along the way, with beautiful retro costuming, and choreographies closer to Spanish dance than flamenco, except of course, for Carmen’s soleá frenzy which inevitably leaves the audience gasping for breath.

©Javier Fergo, Carmen Cortés y artistas

On February 21, Cádiz dancer María Moreno, brought a fresh perspective with her quirky show “More (no) More”.  Fantasy dance, alegrías without guitar, tanguillo to the rhythm of a mobile phone, humor and some fine moves, fresh and original.

©Javier Fergo, María Moreno

 

Good old-fashioned updated flamenco filled the Villamarta theater on Wednesday with Jerez dancer Manuela Carpio, and “a cast of thousands” for her show “La Fuente de mi Inspiración”, an exciting reminder that classic flamenco is still the source.  Pepe Torres, Enrique Extremeño, Gema Moneo, Joaquín Grilo, Juan Riquena, Juan Diego, La Farruca, Antonio Canales and many others made it happen in a show dedicated to the memory of young singer Juanillorro.

©Javier Fergo

Rounding out the week, the explosive dancer Alfonso Losa, gave his intense interpretation of flamenco, with many fresh ideas that embraced subtlety between bursts of energy.

©Javier FergoFestival de JerezJavier FergoFestival de JerezJavier Fergo

And we still have another week to go!

***

© Festival de Jerez/Javier Fergo.
All photographs are copyright Festival de Jerez/Javier Fergo and may not be reproduced without written permission.

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