Manuela Carracso is known as the ‘Queen of Gypsy Flamenco’ and her show was like a scene from an Almodovar film. It is probably the most kitsch performance I have ever seen, a real retro call back to the atmosphere of tablao shows in the 1960s and 70s. In her press conference Carrasco asserted her race declaring ‘Soy Gitana’ differentiating herself from most other dancers leading their own shows here. She said she would use no scenery as she was the show and indeed she began every piece in which she took part by simply standing under the spotlight, her arms flung wide as if declaring ‘Here I Am’. Carrasco radiates a fusion of majestic power with an extraordinary pride bordering on arrogance born of years of performance and potent belief in her gypsy roots. When she dances, despite her 57 years she pounds the floor in rapid fire mode with the energy of a teeenager. Lack of nuance introduces the trace of a child having a tantrum, everything is fierce and furious with a hint of disdain as if bent on defying expectations. For each dance Carrasco entered wearing a different dress covered by a patterned silk shawl and even a full bullfighter cape, discarding them abruptly to begin a series of brooding postures building up to her amazing footwork whether for soleá or zapateado de bulerías. With a bank of musicians on one side of the small stage within the stage from which she began dacning each time, and four singers to the other side, this show was pared down to essentials. Her imperious attitude dominated everything and everybody so that the four young men who made up her corps de dance, all dressed alike bull-fighter mode style, could not escape the feeling of uniformity cast upon them and their supporting roles dancing caña and tangos. Singers included Enrique el Extremeño, a giant of a man who sang full throttle, establishing a partnership of great power with Carrasco. The Diario de Jerez suggested they had timed Carrasco dancing and in total it lasted a vigourous fifteen minutes. Suffice to say that the audience – many of them visiting dance students – adored Carrasco, as one of the few authentic gypsy dancers left of her generaration offering an unadulterated style of performance which cannot be argued with. While her style, like a volcano erupting, is not to everyone’s taste it is unique. Her spirit and total feistiness are magnificent to witness. There is nothing equivocal about what she does and her imprint will be long lasting.
- Sunny Side Up: ‘So much depends upon an (my Dad’s old grey) wheel barrow beside the three brown chickens’ (with apologies to William Carlos Williams)
- Singing, singing singing: Music Mind Map for IPM, Liverpoool Uni.
- Pyromania and rats who have now nested below the Yemaya house
- Cuban women musicians talk to Jan Fairley: ‘Saliendo del cuarto de Tula’; Camino de Santiago and ‘Old ladies’ exhibition photos up on Facebook.
- Critiquing Paul Simon and Graceland revival: could Simon not be taken for a ‘rip off” merchant?
Mahesh Mehta on Jerez Festiva Olga Pericet: Ro… rosemaryburnett on APRIL JOY: HENNY PENNIES IN TH… Sara Trevelyan on Sunny Side Up: ‘So much… Garth Cartwright on Sunny Side Up: ‘So much… Kate Tucker on Singing, singing singing: Musi…