SOLEDAD BARRIO AND NOCHE FLAMENCA
January 6, 2012
When Joe's Pub first opened, Soledad Barrio was one of the very first dance groups to baptize the lima bean-size stage inside the dark club. From their very first appearance, Noche Flamenca’s intense brand of flamenco proved a perfect combination of drama, music and concentrated dance. Nothing slick here, it's all about a rustic earthiness and deep rooted trust in instinct and wherever they go, full houses follow.
Long-faced and slightly burly, dancer Juan Ogalla drills his heels into the floor, tapping out sequences that are not about a refined trill, but instead deep beats reflective of the syncopated rhythms tripping off the musicians. Hunkering over, Ogalla looks down at his feet, frowns and then explodes in an ecstatic expression as he drops one shoulder and raises the other hand, snapping his feet together in salute, slaps his sides and tosses off a wry smile.
Humor and sadness, great love and great loss spill across his face. At the end of his solo, Ogalla swings his jacket onto one shoulder, rakishly walks off like Clark Gable leaving his Scarlett.
A well-seasoned company, two women describe different styles, one draws curvy lines while the other moves with the speed of a hummingbird.
Finally, Soledad Barrio emerges silently dressed in black. Deeply soulful and intense, she takes stock of her audience and calculates the effect of every gesture from the most minute to the grandest. Arms curve out, legs begin to slap the ground, digging down into the earth's nerves. She reaches down inside herself, and that in turn touches something deep in her audience. Barrio sucks in her breath and releases a deafening defense of a woman in charge. Drawn and mournful, she never draws a pretty step or flowery move--she performs the essentials.
And that’s what makes this company so magnetic. It’s must see flamenco.
Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca perform at Joe’s Pub through Jan. 8.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis