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Hispanic Flamenco Ballet

Saturday evening, 27 October 2007
University of Missouri Kansas City in Royall Hall
Kansas City, Missouri
http://www.flamencoballet.com

Here is where you learn what the word trouper means. There was not much publicity, so very small audience, I didn't see the usual set of dancers in the audience. The lights were small, the sort you might use for a DJ private party rather than a stage. And the performance space left a lot to be desired: A lecture hall, small area up front, hard tile-on-concrete floor which the presenters had tried to ameliorate by placing large sheets of masonite on the floor and taping them down. The wrong floors can really injure dancers.

But they danced. As pros. It was clear from the start that this was a group of good, seasoned dancers from various locations. Good dancers and good musicians playing live music, both behind the dancers and as interludes covering costume changes.

They put on a performance just as if they had an audience of hundreds, or more. With a couple of pulls. Nicole noticed the Capoeira dancer, the one who was designated to do the flips and other aerials. Early on he had his feet taped for protection. Just before going on she noticed him take the wrappings off and Nicole guessed what he was thinking. Something on the line of do I keep the protective wrappings on and slip on the improvised floor surface or do I take them off for better footing and risk injury with hard landings on an ungiving floor. I don't know what his entire routine was but it seemed to us that he must have really pulled it to a line of forward flips and then back. Just a taste.

Something similar with the ballerina. Only this was totally pulled. It was a toe routine and I can only imagine how badly the toe shoes would have slipped on that floor. I didn't know about the piece until after the show, talking with her about the floor, but I am glad she didn't do the piece that night.

As a side note: If you are not a dancer you don't really appreciate the effect a floor has on dancers. Hard floors injure knees (from the impact, transmitted up the leg) and other joints above the foot from ankle on. Slippery floors will send you sprawling. Even occasional dancers in a club with light social dance will feel the effect of dancing on hard tile floors.

Actually, they reminded me of a children's theater troup I was in (1973) right after I got out of the Air Force (7 Nov 72). We changed where we could, sometimes behind the scenery and sometimes in Aladdin's tent. We set up flat scenery in school gyms and other odd locations. And we played to grade school kids. So I admit to feeling close to this company just for that reason. Nostalgia. Fond memories.

The program was a geographic tour of Latin dance from Spain through the Americas, from folkloric to popular and performance, incorporating ballet. Flamenco, Salsa, Cumbia, Tango, Gaucho Malambos con Boleadaros, and more.

They are returning to Kansas City. This next spring. They are really worth seeing and I hope they will have stage space to perform.

Here is where you can check them out on the web: http://www.flamencoballet.com - the site explains who they are, gives a tour calendar and videos.

The company tours, usually to schools, sometimes for open admission, as a cultural exchange tour. They present a range of dances from cultures through the Americas and Spain.

   

Flamenco
 

A little Capoeira. At 1/30th of a second not much to shoot and on the hard floor, a short display.

Tango

Gaucho pair swinging and bouncing boleadaros (small hard (usually wood) balls on strings developed from the bolas used for hunting)

Gaucho with boleadaros and bombo (drum)

I have no video to show but (1 check their own site) and 2 here are a couple of links on YourTube
Malambo (Argentina) showing the heel work - similar to American tap dance
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QihC4Opvfb4
Malambo with Boleadoras (balls on tethers) - a more avant theatrical treatment but cool
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0l77pex5dE

   

 

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