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Paco Pena - Quimeras

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Paco Pena and his company were at the Lowry on Wednesday evening performing Quimeras.


The blurb on the website says of Quimeras: ".... production seamlessly blends Spanish and African music and dance together into a stunning celebration of shared cultures.


Quimeras triumphantly brings to life the journey of a group of people in pursuit of a better life, searching beyond the frontier for a wonderful, promising world."


This production was performed by Paco Pena, three flamenco musicians, 2 singers and 4 dancers alongside 3 African musicians and 3 dancers.


The first half of the evening was absolutely enthralling. It started with Paco Pena performing a guitar solo. He looks as though he is not even touching the strings with either hand, his touch is so light but the end result is serious magic.


The opening ensemble number used all the musicians, singers and dancers and was an interesting juxtaposition of Flamenco and sub-Saharan African dance that was exhilerating to watch. The performance wended its way through various combinations of music and dancing style. The Flamenco dancers were just gorgeous to watch with their brilliant lines and precise footwork. The African dancing was joyous but seemed much less controlled. There was a Flamenco solo towards the end that was visually stunning. Danced with the stage in near darkness one of the ladies had a long flowing white dress and scarf with long fringing on it. The way she moved made the scarf made it seem as though a dove was fluttering through the air - breath-taking!


I didn't think the second half of the evening worked as well. It seemed more themed and there was some recorded music and voices. The African ensemble seemed to be waiters while the Flameno ensemble seemed to be having a social evening. There was some truly fabulous Flamenco on display. At the end of the Flamenco social, the African waiters were clearing up and then had a dance where the music was provided by the rythmic tapping of their shoes. At the end, one dancer removes his shoes and tops and seems to be dancing a lament, perhaps to a lost culture. One of the male Flamenco dancers joined him and ceremoniously removed his shoes and jacket. Both dancers seemed to be showing each other their own styles of dance. I found it really very moving.


Paco Pena performed another solo and the evening finished with another full group ensemble.


There were no programmes on sale so the only detail about the evening was the advertising blurb on the website. I wish I had known more about what was going on and what instruments the African musicians were playing (apart from the obvious percussion). I also wish I knew the names of the dancers to give them the credit they richly deserved.


There was some magnificent dancing on display but I think the whole evening did not quite match the advertising blurb. At the end of the day it was a fascinating and enjoyable evening even if some aspects, for me, did not work. I see that the company is due at Sadler's Wells soon and would be interested to hear what anyone who sees them thinks.


Edited to increase the minute font size initally published so that Taxi does not need to angst if she can't find her glasses! JMcN 1709 23/11

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Janet, the following will help you to identify the dancers. We only had a chance to photograph two sections but here are a couple of pictures to remind you of the evening. They are now at Sadlers Wells Theatre.




The Company in Quimeras




Charo Espino, Angel Munoz, Cristobal Garcia and Carmen Rios in Quimeras


More on www.johnrossballetgallery.co.uk

Edited by johnross
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