Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

Jose Manuel Polonio, Tara Lynch, Pilar Andujar, and Zenon Ramos in Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana’s Carmen: El Baile

Photo © Lois Greenfield 2007

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana

At the Joyce Theater, New York City
March 4–9, 2008

A Review

Carmen: El Baile (first half):  Why is the stage so hazy? Oh, they have raised the backdrop and exposed the brick wall. A cigarette factory, of course...

As the overture (drum, singer, two guitars, and a violin across the rear of the stage) played, that was as far as I got into my musings before dance exploded onto the stage:

Fast (really fast) feet, hyper-extended torseaus, floating arms and we were away in a whirl of glorious motion—one virtuoso moment after the other, all of it near perfection. Carmen: El Baile is more or less the story as we know it, and the story line unfolds in a series of flamenco dances with decent, unobtrusive mime, and occasional, well-constructed “un-flamenco” motion sequences. And the “kill” is “real.” Pilar Andujar (Carmen), who is also the choreographer, dies well. But I was jarred briefly by Zenon Ramos’s (El’s) costume, which was so pedestrian against the others that it seemed to diminish his dance.

Estilos Flamencos (second half):  More pure, glorious dance, Ramos has choreographed two extraordinary solos, one danced by Ana Agraz and the other by Ramos himself. Again, his costume is different, and just when the sleeves of his shirt began to intrude on my seeing the dance, lo and behold, he rolled his sleeves up.

Every dancer—Carlotta Santana, Pilar Andujar, Lia Ochoa, Yolanda Garcia, Ana Agroz, Zenon Ramos, Fernando Alfaro, Adrian Mejfas, and Roberto Sanchez; and every musician—Calvin Hazen (also composer), Francisco Orozco “YIYI,” Antonio Andrado, Felix de Lola, and Victor Guadiana deserve koudos.

Needless to say, I had a glorious time, and if ever you have to chance to see Carlota Santana’s company, go out of your way to see it and enjoy.

Ruth Grauert, March 4, 2008