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The Ballet Nacional and Manuel Liñán: two great choices opening the Festival

Spain’s Ballet Nacional opened the 22nd edition of the Festival de Jerez, confirming the good shape of this festival with a strong and intense start of activities, both official and parallel. Also, flamenco courses are full of foreigners coming to Jerez, wishing to learn baile, cante, toque and even palmas. Since last Friday, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying the environment in

Spain’s Ballet Nacional opened the 22nd edition of the Festival de Jerez, confirming the good shape of this festival with a strong and intense start of activities, both official and parallel. Also, flamenco courses are full of foreigners coming to Jerez, wishing to learn baile, cante, toque and even palmas. Since last Friday, we’ve been thoroughly enjoying the environment in this epicenter of the flamenco world. Friday’s production was encouraging for the upcoming editions, as having the Ballet Nacional was proof of commitment and dependability. We were fortunate to enjoy the various dance styles from our land, from the escuela bolera, to classic dance and flamenco. Under the direction of Antonio Najarro, the cast was greatly applauded in each of its acts, although we have to admit that the part showcasing the handling of the mantón was flimsier than the rest. The scenography and lightning were great, harmonious and subtle, all the result of great groundwork.

 

The following day, Manuel Liñán debuted his production “Baile de autor” (“Author’s Dance”) in the Villamarta theater, with Manuel Valencia on the guitar, playing an outstanding solo por seguiriyas, and David Carpio adding his voice to the seguiriyas, soleá de Triana and alegrías of this bailaor from Granada. Manuel displayed his proficiency in all acts, captivating great part of the audience with his final number, where he performed with the bata de cola, the mantón, the fan and the cane. His production was well-liked and once again he achieved a great success in this festival.

The moment of the guitar belonged to Antonio Rey, who presented his last album “Dos partes de mí” (“Two parts of me”) in the Gonzalez Byass cellars, reaping an emphatic success. Antonio is unique in his very personal way of telling stories with music, in his refined technique and, above all, in the music he carries in his soul, which leaves no room to doubt that he’s the very best. That night he was joined by Mara Rey and Makarines, and had the very special collaboration of Joaquín Grilo, who with just a short, 5-minute footwork, showed, with his great skill, why he has such a high standing.
In the series “Toca Toque”, we were able to get know the guitarist David Carmona in greater depth, with his show “Un sueño de locura” (“A crazy dream”), where he lets himself to be carried away by his deep feelings and clearly shows that nothing happens without good reason and everything makes sense and has a purpose. David’s performance por soleá, por alegrías and por tarantas was well-liked, and he left us dazed with his new tientos tangos (composed at the last minute) and his seguiriyas, being joined by Luis “El Zambo” in a moment where both achieved the ultimate pellizco.
One of the most anticipated performances in this Festival already took place, that of Vicente Soto, who presented “Coplas del Desagravio. A la mujer” (“Verses of Atonement. For women.”), with lyrics by Rafael Lorente. It was an evening of gala for the cante of Jerez. An evening where Vicente found shelter in his own home. An evening where we enjoyed the voices of Lela Soto y Melchora Ortega (por alegrías and por malagueñas, respectively). An evening where we missed Tomasa “La Macanita”, who couldn’t attend due to health reasons. An evening where we listened to six virtuosos of flamenco guitar: Alfredo Lagos, Diego del Morao, Manuel Parrilla, Manuel Valencia, Nono Jero and Juan Diego Mateos. An evening where justice for the role of women in flamenco was made. An evening that we’ll not forget.
Juan Garrido (photos: Javier Fergó for Festival de Jerez)
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Periodista. Jerez. Sé bailar por bulerías. Nada como la intimidad de la radio y el romanticismo del papel. Ahora, también en tv.

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