Los Angeles Dance Preview: FOREVER FLAMENCO! (Ford Amphitheater)

Post image for Los Angeles Dance Preview: FOREVER FLAMENCO! (Ford Amphitheater)

by Tony Frankel on August 3, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles


Forever Flamenco_Yaelisa-2Last year, after the thrilling, fiery, and passionate flamenco dancer Manuel Gutiérrez displayed a crackling tap and pedal pyrotechnics the likes of which confirmed why Flamenco is so compelling, my companion leaned over and said, “That’s it. I’m booking us on the next flight to Seville.” Well, we never made it to Spain, but we have made it a priority to return to see Gutiérrez in Forever Flamenco! Easily one of the most invigorating and steamy dance shows in L.A., this fiery flamenco-fest is returning to the 1,200-seat Ford Amphitheater—one of our loveliest outdoor venues—for an evening of smoking-hot flamenco dance, music, and song. This one-night only event is practically sold out already, so I advise you make it your main concern to nab a seat this Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Forever Flamenco_Jason McGuireDeborah Lawlor, who has produced the city’s foremost flamenco series for over 20 years, was honored in 2013. This year’s show celebrates the career of the renowned flamenco master, Roberto Amaral. In his nearly 50-year career, this dancer, choreographer, singer, composer, artist, and teacher has performed in many of the world’s great concert halls, theaters, arenas, and nightclubs. Amaral, who will perform as well, is also a co-founding member of the ground-breaking rock band CARMEN.

Watch Roberto Amaral dance at the Ford in 2009:

Forever Flamenco_Manuel Gutierrez - photo by Antonio Gamboa“Roberto is a visionary with a trademark style,” said Lawlor. “As he continually strives to find new and refreshing approaches to the form, he has also found an enormous sense of gratification and pride in his dedication to teach and mentor others. Many of his former students and protégés have gone on to become stars in their own right.”

And stars of the flamenco world are what you’ll get under the stars at the Ford. Among the dancers are the tall, elegant, and studly Timo Nuñez (who recently stole the show in San Francisco Opera’s La Traviata without having to sing one note) will offer dynamic footwork that sounds like firecrackers. The ridiculously sexy and sensuous Fanny Ara, a doppelganger for Salma Hayek, is defiant, seductive, searching, and scorching hot. And co-Artistic Director this year, Yaelisa, is a middle-aged woman who proves that time cannot quell the fiery gipsy spirit; this seasoned performer has amazing rhythm, humor, expressiveness, joy and reflection. Also appearing as bailaores/as (dancers) are Pamela Lourant, Mizuho Sato, and Ryan Zermeño.

Forever Flamenco_Fanny Ara - photo by Antonio GamboaThe vocalists are no ordinary singers; to the untrained ear, it may seem like they are struggling to hold a note, but that wailing and fluttering is the evolved style of the suffering gipsy, and, at times, sounds eerily like the plaintive yowling of nomadic Native American tribes or the spiritual yearnings of Jewish Sephardic music. The powerful cantaores (singers) will be Antonio de Jerez and Jesus Montoya.

I have heard all of the guitarists; whether jazzy or classical, they are some of the best I have ever heard. Last year, Jason McGuire “El Rubio” accompanied Ms. Ara with smoldering fast fingerwork that was a brilliant combination of new age work á la William Ackerman with traditional flamenco. I can’t believe all of that music came out of one guitar. Likewise José Tanaka, who overlayed his work with a soulful yearning and accessible dissonance. The other guitarristas—co-Artistic Director Antonio Triana, Adam del Monte, and Jason McGuire—will be supported by the extraordinary percussionist Joey Heredia. I am told that we should also expect surprise artists.

They tell us to dress warmly for this outdoor event, but I get so hot at Forever Flamenco! that I will be bringing a fan and a pitcher of Sangria.

photos by Antonio Gamboa, Bruce Bisenz, and the Fountain Theatre

Timo Nuñez_Forever Flamenco_photo by Bruce Bisenz.Forever Flamenco! at the Ford
presented by Deborah Lawlor
and The Fountain Theatre
Ford Amphitheatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East in Hollywood
Saturday, August 9, 2014 at 8:30 p.m.
doors open for picnicking at 6:30 p.m.
for tickets, call 323.461.3673
or visit Ford or Fountain

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