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New York City Center Flamenco Festival 2018: Ballet Nacional de Espana

- Onstage with the Dancers: Classical and Cultural Connections

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New York City Center &
Flamenco Festival 2018
Ballet Nacional de España
Director: Antonio Najarro

Suite Sevilla

At New York City Center

Original Idea, Choreography, Staging: Antonio Najarro
Choreographers: Manuel Liñán, Blanca del Rey
Music by Rafael Riqueni, Miguel Rivera, Diego Losada,
Paco de Lucía, Enrique Bermúdez, Jesús Torres
Musical Director: Omar Acosta
Texts: Gerardo Diego
Lighting and Production Design: Felipe Ramos
Costume Design: Antonio Najarro
Sound Design: Javier Álvarez
Image Design: César San Bruno
Press: Joe Guttridge

Dancers: Esther Jurado, Francisco Velasco
Aloña Alonso, Immaculada Salomón
Sergio Bernal, Eduardo Martínez
María Fernández, Débora Martínez, Miriam Mendoza
José Manuel Benítez, Carlos Sánchez, Carlos Romero
& Corps de Ballet

Guitars: Enrique Bermúdez, Jonathan Bermúdez, Diego Losada
Percussion: Roberto Vezmediano
Flutist: Omar Acosta
Guest Violinist: Virginia González
Guest Cellist: Sergio Menem
Singers: Saray Muñoz, Gabriel de la Tomasa

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 3, 2018

Program: “Feria”, “Calle del infierno”, “La alfalfa”, “Esperanza”, “El encierro”, “La pesca del atún”, “Maestranza”, “Puerto de Triana”, “Soleá del mantón”, “Bailaor”, “Paseo de ensueño”, “Júbilo”.

Antonio Najarro, the multi-talented Director of Ballet Nacional de España, has conceived, choreographed (except the contemporary works, Manuel Liñán’s “El encierro” and Blanca del Ray’s “Soleá del mantón”), and staged Suite Sevilla, an almost two-hour, one-act ballet, for the entire Company of three dozen dancers, or so. Staged in twelve scenes, including a showcase musical number for a live band, the audience awarded each scene with vocal accolades. In fact, during flamenco segments, one could hear enthused “Olé!’s. Mr. Najarro, from Madrid, also choreographed, in 2002, an ice-skating routine that won an Olympics Award. Suite Sevilla featured dance solos, pas de deux, full company ballet, avant-garde dance, all-male flamenco in bull-fight motifs, singers, musicians, driven and delirious musical scores à la Spain, and the most exquisite costumes (also designed by Mr. Najarro), both for men and women, that I have ever seen presented in one unique work.

According to program notes, Mr. Najarro included flamenco, folkloric, “estilizada” (avant-garde), and “escuela bolera” (classical ballet). This extraordinary dance presentation begged the viewer to quickly book a flight to Seville! With flamenco shoes, the company seemed like a marching military parade, in ruffled yellow and gold, and in ballet slippers the theme becomes richly classical and lyrical. In “Maestranza”, the woman, in ballet leotard, becomes the bull with the toreador. In “Bailaor”, Spanish for male flamenco artist (a female flamenco dance artist is a “bailaora”), seven men danced in synchronized, rhythmic flamenco, with rapid twirls, jumps, and onstage-to-offstage, fancy footwork fashion. Rafael Riqueni, a renowned flamenco guitarist, was recruited to collaborate on the score for this monumental work. The cultural history and aesthetic ambiance of Spain is masterfully fused in this expansive Suite. Kudos to Ballet Nacional de España, and especially to Antonio Najarro.

Ballet Nacional de España in "Suite Sevilla"
Courtesy of Josep Aznar

Ballet Nacional de España in "Suite Sevilla"
Courtesy of Josep Aznar

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at