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Dance International
Written by: Klee Barris
24/08/2012

A Peña is a meeting place or grouping of musicians or artists which is apt not only in a Spanish or South American context but in a cultural South African context too. La Rosa Peña Flamenca explores community discussion and passion through music and movement, allowing the audience significant insight into what represents a family or community dynamic.

The marriage of being staged at the Masque Theatre whose roots began embracing the different cultures of the western cape in 1959 by Bertie Stern, compliment what is embodied by La Rosa to showcase Flamenco which is “deeply connected to the many cultures that exist within the Western Cape of South Africa.”

Peña Flamenca opens with the performers in a causal assemblage, while the audience filters in allowing for a crescendo to build. The intimate setting dimly lit enhances the warm umbers, oranges and reds of the costumes, accenting the powerful emotions of fire, strength and energy that is so prevalent in Flamenco dancing.

Each dance number stimulated a different sensation encompassing a good balance of aggression and passion, to fickle flirtation as well as pride. The accompaniment of live music and a soulful singer intertwined with the varying movements that accentuated the form of the body made for a devastating sensory feast.

What was accessible about this performance was the freedom the dancers had in expressing their own personalities through infusing South African cultural influences evident in the Kwaito rhythm that occasionally emerged, engulfing both audience and performer alike.

As the dynamic of a supportive community became more prevalent with each soloist or quartet thanking their members after performing, special mention needs to be made for María Cortés or if La Rosa was staging a family dance core, “Mama Maria” . Her dancing is enigmatic and addictive, claiming bold beautiful movement as a matriarch of La Rosa as well as encouraging her contemporaries.

Other highlights include the musical interlude, with the banter between the guitarists offering cheeky comedy, the grace of the el banico dance or the dance with the fan and the tradition of the castanets made for an enrapturing night.

Stylistically the reverberations of “Ole” and various mutterings permeating through the entire performance at times became distracting and could be issued more reservedly, however overall the precision, commanding force of wills and personalities of the various company members all contributed to this vibrant community that echoes a very real and relatable South African landscape.

Technically, the talented expertise of a well-polished company is unmistakable, marking this showcase accessible to an extensive audience proffering a high calibre of this art form.

Peña Flamenca runs at the Masque Theatre (Muizenberg) from 23 August – 01 September 2012 at 8pm on weeknights, Saturday matinees at 2:30 pm and evening performances at 6pm. Special performance on Sunday 26 August at 3pm. Tickets available at R65 (evening) or R55 (matinee’s) through Masque Theatre, (021) 788 1898 or alternatively through email:

bookings@masquetheatre.co.za

_______________________________________________________________________________________


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