Ballet Flamenco de Andalucia's production of “Noche Andaluza” is a smorgasbord of color, vitality and some serious footwork.
In seven pieces, adapted from the company's original show “Metafora,” artistic director and choreographer Ruben Olmo brought an explosion of energy onto the TD Arena stage at the College of Charleston.
Upon a barren set, this production came to life thanks to the colorful combinations of backdrop lighting and dancers' costumes. And then there was the incredible dancing.
The opening piece “Buleria, Canela” set the rhythm of the show, as four male dancers in white danced against the fluid geometric arc of a sweeping red curtain. The percussion lent a quickening beat, but the movements appeared too much like a rehearsed recital.
The stage was transformed into an ocean for “Cantinas de Coral” as the female dance ensemble took over, sea-foam bata de cola costumes creating swirly waves. The women are serene nymphs, haughty even, until Pastora Galvan enters all ablaze, a fiery goddess in bright orange. She is wild, ferocious, a spontaneous force in an otherwise structured production. Her nimble agility was the mark of a great talent.
Galvan's most admirable feat perhaps was in the way she deftly flirted with the long train of her dress, as if it was a mere gossamer feather and not heavy drapery. In her solo piece, “Jaleos, de los Reyes,” she appeared like a purple nightingale with short, staccato, bird-like movements enhanced by her sturdy frame.
Galvan's robust expression spoke of lush invitation, and her suggestive skirt lifting and throwing was full of ribald gusto.
Olmo, in comparison, was soulful. He appeared like a wiry parakeet in his solo “Tientos, El Vuelo,” fluttering across the stage with a lithe mobility. His dance was more modern than traditional flamenco, and featured the only ballet steps of the production.
Soloists Patricia Guerrero and Eduardo Leal appeared in an interlude “Seguirilla, Alpujarra” and created a midnight-hued sensuousness with their duet. She alternated beautifully between slow, tense strokes and lightning-quick footwork. He followed suit, less gracefully.
The rest of the company entertained the audience with enjoyable, but ultimately unmemorable performances. The moving vocals of Juana Salazar and Christian Guerrero gave this production its lovely poignancy.
“Noche Andaluza” is certainly a crowd pleaser.
Eesha Patkar is a Goldring Arts Journalist from Syracuse University.