Rhythms With Soul
Foot-stomping romp through flamenco history
This article is from 2010.
On posters Venezuelan-born flamenco dancer Miguel Vargas appears smouldering and bare-chested. But unlike paparazzi-friendly contemporaries such as Joaquin Cortes he is no peacock, all baby-oil and no substance. There is strut aplenty. There is simmer, as he and his show-stopping eight-strong band (incorporating cello and flute with traditional flamenco elements) build improvised rhythms to near unbearable crescendo. But though highly practised, with human tornado Vargas it all seems pretty raw – his rapid-fire footwork and barely-contained passion seem evoked from some deep, ancient place. The new vehicle Rhythms With Soul, which premieres here, is more rehearsed. A colourfully costumed journey from Flamenco’s gypsy roots to stage-friendly present day it features a series of heavily stylised contemporary-flamenco fusion sequences. The potted flamenco history angle is nothing new and there are more sophisticated flamenco modernisers out there. But this is fun, be-frilled and has the crowd on its feet by second night.
New Town Theatre, Freemason’s Hall, 220 0143, until 29 Aug (not 17) 3.50pm, £11–£13.