This weekend, the Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company performed at the Metropolitan Museum for one night only. Peña is one of the great flamenco guitarists; his shows are always beautifully-wrought musical events. This time he brought three dancers, including Angel Muñoz, an embodiment of the spontaneity that can make flamenco such an enjoyable art form. You can see the review here.

Here’s a clip of Muñoz in performance:

And here is a short excerpt from the review:

“More than other dance forms, flamenco thrives on the illusion of spontaneity. It’s the reason why some of the best moments in a flamenco show happen after the show has ended, when the ensemble gathers at the edge of the stage, like a happy family or a band of tipsy friends, dancing for each other. The guitarists dance, the dancers sing, and everybody claps along. Dance returns to its most basic function: a communal activity, a celebration of joie de vivre and the pleasure of good music. Great flamenco dancers trick you into believing they are making it up as they go along.”

2 Comments

  1. It is true, the most valuable thing in flamenco is spontaneity, but if people would know more about it, they could see that Angel Muñoz is not an example of spontaneous flamenco performance, he is the opposite, I have seen him in many oportunities. Everyday he lift his brows in the same way, he knows exactly where he looks better and he uses it, he repeats himself quite often. He is an amazing dancer, but he doesn’t know much about the “arriving” of the Duende Flamenco. El Duende is not beautiful, it doesn’t speaks about grace and skills, is more about dark notes, pain, and extasis.. El Duende is capricious and impredictible, you know that he came because everything changes after his visit…

    http://www.poetryintranslation.com/PITBR/Spanish/LorcaDuende.htm

    1. Thank you for writing. I think, perhaps, that even spontaneity is an illusion of performance, perhaps the central illusion. The great performers make us feel they are inventing the form each time. When we see them several times, we begin to notice the “tricks,” the repetitions, etc. And then, they surprise us all over again. As a person who sees a lot of dance, I’ve had this experience over and over. But I don’t think it’s a bad thing. It’s part of the art too. By the way, here’s the link to the actual review:
      http://dancetabs.com/2013/01/paco-pena-flamenco-dance-company-flamenco-vivo-new-york/

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