If the Flamenco Festival is anything to go by, flamenco seems to be entering a period of highly original, personal, even eccentric reinterpretations. A week ago, I reviewed Israel Galván’s “La Curva, in which Galván seemed torn between two poles, that of his flamenco “family” (represented by a singer and a palmero, or hand percussionist, sitting at a table), and his new, chosen avant-garde family (represented by the pianist Sylvie Courvoisier). Of course flamenco is more than one thing and always has been. Tensions about its “true,” “pure” nature are as endemic to the form as rhythmic footwork and quebrada turns. But what’s interesting about these choreographers is that they seem to be grappling with personal curiosities, trying to figure out not what flamenco is, but what it is to them at that moment.
Two nights ago, I saw Rocío Molina in her intriguing trio “Afectos” at the Baryshnikov Arts Center. Molina’s explorations are less anarchic, more intimate than Galván’s. There’s less rage in her dancing, more whimsy. Like a child, Molina seems to do exactly what she wants, abetted by her two collaborators, Rosario “La Tremendita” (singer) and Pablo Martín (double bassist). At its heart, the show is a kind of structured jam session, in which the three riff off of each other. The shifting relationship between La Tremendita and Molina provides the dramatic storyline. Who are these two women to each other, and what are they trying to say? What is the relation between the singer’s voice and the dancer’s body? Who is stronger, who is the most free? You can read my review of the program here.
In this article for the Times, I attempt to summarize some of the current trends in flamenco.
And here is a short clip from Afectos: