Baile falls into existential emptiness
After the Manuel Liñán’s revolution at the Festival de Jerez, the Villamarta Theater hosted the protagonists of the Cádiz-Jerez Gala, with bailaoras such as Mercedes de Córdoba and La Lupi, and the duet Andrés Peña and Pilar Ogalla. Yet, the expected moments of brilliance never came to fruition
However, if there was anything worth highlighting halfway through this Festival, it was a Saturday program called La Fiesta, a veritable flamenco marathon at the Claustros de Santo Domingo, a new venue which hasn’t been as well-received as it was hoped for, due to the difficulty trying to visualize the different performances that took place since noon, when Juana la del Pipa sang, accompanied by the guitar of Diego del Morao, under the direction of Luis de Periquín, until 1 AM, when Diego Carrasco and Tomasito closed the evening por bulerías, directed by Pepe del Morao. Meanwhile, the venue was visited by Saray García, bailaora from Jerez who has become a true revelation for many people due to her clear, straightforward and very flamenco discourse. We also heard the echoes of Luis Moneo and José Méndez upholding their Plazuela heritage. Later came the guitars of Nono Jero and Manuel Jero, vindicating the Jerez school of rhythmic toque, joined by Juan Villar and Anabel Valencia. At 7 PM was the actual Fiesta, with Paco Vega, José Lérida, Pepe Torres, Mari Vizárraga and Manuela Ríos, among others. It was a great showcase of the most authentic flamenco and a very worthwhile event.
As we’ve said before, the Villamarta theater has hosted the greatest stars of baile. In Cádiz-Jerez, the highlights were the voice of Felipa del Moreno, the versatility and volcanic performance of Edu Guerrero, the overflowing and elegant fragrance of María Moreno and the exquisite maturity of Mercedes Ruiz. At the end, the mythical bailaora La Chana appeared on the stage, giving us a masterclass of control and wisdom even before she got up from her chair. Por cuatro reales was the new production by Andrés Peña and Pilar Ogalla, a well-seasoned couple who stick to the careful and traditional discourse of baile flamenco. It’s true that it took a while for the show to reach the expected climax, but it wasn’t easy after one of the cantaores had to be substituted at the last minute — hours before the curtains were raised — by David Carpio, and excellent choice that fully matched Londro‘s wonderful singing. In this gala, we thoroughly enjoyed the guitars of Rafael Rodríguez, Miguel Pérez, Pascual de Lorca and Jesús Guerrero.
Mercedes de Córdoba came with ‘Ser. Ni conmigo ni sin mí‘, an introspective exploration of the doubts of the present. In this production, we particularly enjoyed the end, with a majestic soleá performed in one of the defining moments of the show. This production had a first-class lineup, making it even more enjoyable, particularly the performances of Enrique El Extremeño and Juan Campallo. This was the first time Mercedes performed as a solo artist in Jerez and she made good use of this opportunity. The saqme goes for La Lupi, with Lenguaje oculto, approached from the intimate and reflexive optic of the being. The fears, the ups and downs of life, art’s double standards, the possible and the impossible. Alfredo Tejada‘s cante was the best thing of the evening. Yet, we have to admit that the last couple of days at the Villamarta theatre have not been particularly outstanding.
Outside of the main events, we must highlight Hiniesta Cortés, bailaora from Seville, and her show Mi sentir, where she shows her true self, seeking to enjoy and delight the audience with her Sevillian baile, having a lot of character and devoid of any drama. The baile was accompanied by the good cante of Londro, Lavi and Corbacho, and the guitar of Rafael Rodríguez… They did it just right, which is not an easy feat.
Top image: Andres Peña & Pilar Ogalla (photo: Javier Fergo)