By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Gisele Revollar, 917.239.1480, (www.carlosrevollar.com) (email@example.com) a Flamenco Performer from Brazil, a most dynamic combination of heritage and craft, can be seen practicing at Fazil's Studio, 743 8th Ave., btw. 46th and 47th Streets, 212.451.3355, and performing at Dance Festivals, Flamenco events, private parties, and on many Thursday nights at Xunta Tapas Bar, 212.614.0620, 174 First Avenue, btw.10th and 11th Streets. Last week, I had the privilege of interviewing, observing, and photographing Gisele, accompanied by her dance colleagues and musician husband, Carlos Revollar. This documentary series of interviews, photo essays, and performances took place, chronologically, at Fazil's Studio, Le Rendezvous Cafe, Lincoln Center's Josie Robertson Plaza, and Xunta Tapas Bar. Gisele Revollar is the subject of this inside perspective.
August 5, 2002, with Gisele Revollar, at Le Rendez Vous Café, 212.265.2233, 739 8th Avenue, btw. 46th and 47th Streets, while her Flamenco Guitarist husband, Carlos Revollar, and Nelida Tirado, Flamenco teacher, and many of the Flamenco students stop by to quench enormous thirsts, following the high energy Flamenco class in a very warm, fourth floor walkup studio.
REZ - Tell me about the Flamenco class (See photos below) I just saw at Fazil's.
GR - This was an advanced class in Flamenco technique. It includes arm work, footwork, and different Palo's (rhythms). We are working on choreography, too. I put some of Neli's steps and techniques into my dances, because Neli uses strong rhythms and quality of movement. She makes you go to the edge, with sharpness.
REZ - Tell me about the outdoor performances that I'll see at Lincoln Center.
GR - I'm just part of this group, Danzas Españolas (www.danzasespanolas.com. I will be doing a solo, traditional Flamenco, roots of Flamenco, inspired by an artist, Lola Flores, a dancer and a singer.
REZ - As a Brazilian dancer, why did you choose Flamenco rather than Samba?
GR - I first studied Flamenco classical guitar, and I heard the music of Paco de Lucia. I first had a small Flamenco group and was involved with Flamenco rhythms. My mother asked me to choose, guitar or dance, and in São Paulo I took Flamenco dance classes and later studied in Madrid.
REZ - On what are you concentrating, in order to keep track of such complicated foot rhythm. It's so precise.
GR - In Flamenco, you make music with your feet. It's the same training as a percussionist. You need to keep the sounds and rhythm clear and precise. You need a lot of strength in the legs. There's a lot of tension, and you need motion to make the accents, which go strong and loud. You must control your energy, like a percussionist.
REZ - So, you play the floor with your feet.
GR - You play castanets, you clap your hands, you clap your legs, and you make full body percussion. If I don't pay attention, exactly, with Carlos (Guitarist husband), then I cannot be precise. And, there is always a Palmero or Palmera, who claps the guitar rhythm, and is part of the band. The dancer is always the boss, and everyone else accompanies her.
REZ - Then, Flamenco is a cooperative effort - dancers, Palmeros, musicians.
GR - Yes, and I would never do footwork on top of a singer. We have singers, musicians (guitar, percussion), clapping, and dancers. Percussion can come from a cajon (a big box).
REZ - Where do you find those beautiful, ruffled costumes?
GR - In New York, there are actually people, who sew and create these costumes.
REZ - How do you feel, when you dance Flamenco?
GR - I live on dancing Flamenco. Since I moved to the US, I live on teaching and performing, and, Thank God, on work in the schools. Flamenco is a rich culture. You can listen to different kinds of exotic music, and this is a multicultural experience, with many rich cultures included. And, you see so many people, not just from Spain, just crazy for Flamenco. Everyone has something in common with Flamenco. There's a little bit of each culture in Flamenco - Jewish, Japanese, Russian. People fall in love with Flamenco.
Carlos and Pat
Nelida Tirado, Flamenco teacher
Students in unison
Kazumi and Gisele
Neli shows passion
Gisele in focus
Anna and Kazumi
Neli leads Gisele
Xunta Tapas Bar, 174 First Avenue, btw. 10th-11th Streets, 212.614.0620, August 8, 2002, Gisele Revollar and Carlos Revollar join dancer, Blanca, Percussionist, Peter, singer, David, Guitarist, Roberto, and off-duty dancer, Laura. Flamenco Perfromance
Blanca and Gisele
Blanca and Gisele
David and Carlos
Peter on the Cajon
Blanca and Giselle
Blanca and Gisele
Laura joins in
Carlos makes a Juerga (Party)
Danzas Espanolas at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Tuesday, August 6, 2002, Josie Robertson Plaza Dancers: Barbara Romero, Isabel Soler, Natalia Brillante, Giselle Revollar Guitar and Doumbek: Carlos Revollar Piano: Ruslan Agababayev Mezzo Soprano: Naila Aziz Cantaora (Flamenco): Chayito Champion Recorder: Nina Stern