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A Bailar: Dance at The Center Presents Its Finale, "Voces Suite Flamenca", at New York City Center
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A Bailar: Dance at The Center Presents Its Finale, "Voces Suite Flamenca", at New York City Center

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A Bailar: Dance at The Center
Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
Voces, Suite Flamenca
(Sara Baras Website)

Presented by:
New York City Center
www.nycitycenter.org
Arlene Schuler, President & CEO
Mark Litvin, Sr. VP & Managing Director

And
Flamenco Festival
Sara Baras, Artistic Director & Choreographer

Keko Baldomero, Musical Director & Composer
Oscar Gómez de los Reyes, Lighting Designer
Ras Artesanos, Set Designer
Torres-Cosano, Costume Designer
Special Collaboration with:
J. Jiménez “Chaboli” and Sergio Monroy

With:
An Ensemble of Dancers & Singers & Musicians

Press: Helene Davis Public Relations

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 7, 2015


I have always found the most enjoyable flamenco experiences to be in restaurants, workshops, and outdoors, such as a 2002 Lincoln Center Festival. Tonight’s intermission-less, over two-hour flamenco extravaganza was more like a tribute or milestone birthday event for Sara Baras. She was almost always featured onstage. In fact, no other artist is described on the City Center Playbill’s “Meet the Artist” page. José Serrano, often featured, but for briefer periods of time, and occasionally in duo with Ms. Baras, his wife, was often more mesmerizing, although Ms. Baras’ highly amplified, clicking heels, in syncopated clavé rhythms, did grab the listeners’ attention. The hall was packed with Spanish-speaking aficionados, including whole, large families, even young children. Recorded, narrative sound tracks, of famous flamenco dancers and choreographers from Spain, who inspired Ms. Baras, were frequently intermixed with music, dance, and song.

Tonight’s backup dancers, a corps de ballet of six, were Cristina Aldón, María Jesús García, David Martín, Charo Pedraja, Alejandro Rodríguez, and Daniel Saltares. In various loosely choreographed skits, Ms. Baras alternately appeared in ruffle-layered dresses, a red cape, and tight black pants. There were minimal sets, in which the corps sometimes provided additional flamenco steps and dramatic swirling motion, as in “Bulería de Chabo”, music by J. Jiménez Chaboli. With Ms. Baras the Director and Choreographer, except when Mr. Serrano danced his own solos, which he choreographed, there was much room for expansion and improvisation. In fact, at the end of the evening, after the curtain calls, the audience induced Mr. Serrano to keep dancing another quarter hour or more, with enthusiastic back and forth, hall and stage. Giant sets, by Ras Artesanos, included tall mirrors and painted figures of the influential flamenco artists mentioned above. Manuel Muñoz Pájaro and Antonio Suárez were the two percussionists. The beat on the cajón enticed Ms. Baras and Mr. Serrano to increase the vivacity of their solos and duos, bringing cast and audience into a frenzy.

The high point of any flamenco event is the soulful sound of musicians, singers, and palmeras. Keko Baldomero and Andrés Martínez were the two guitarists, while Rubio de Pruna, Israel Fernández, and Miguel Rosendo were the singers. As one might imagine, the singers often wailed and chanted, sometimes crooned, and always sang in Spanish, in this culturally authentic program, the finale of New York City Center’s “A Bailar: Dance at the Center”. Considering the design freedom that Ms. Baras and Mr. Serrano had for this program, I would have liked to see English translations on supertitles, which City Center can create (this had been the occasional home of New York City Opera). Even one with some understanding of the language would not be able to comprehend the lyrics of the undulating cries. Suffice it to say, most in the crowd did not care. This was a rousing event. The program had translations of the spoken recordings, but one cannot read in the dark. At one point Mr. Serrano and Ms. Baras danced a duo, with Mr. Serrano slowly placing a toreador’s jacket on Ms. Baras, before she danced the man’s tightly postured steps. All that were missing were the bulls.



Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
in "Voces, Suite Flamenca"
Courtesy of Peter Muller




Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
in "Voces, Suite Flamenca"
Courtesy of Peter Muller




Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras
in "Voces, Suite Flamenca"
Courtesy of Peter Muller


For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at zlokower@bestweb.net