Awesome flamenco dancer / Raul, Rachel, Yang to perform

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

Before an SRO audience at the RCBC auditorium, bare-chested flamenco dancer Eduardo Guerrero opened his concert lying on a chair, his legs dangling from one end of it, his head dangling from the other.

Moving very slowly, he did a hand stand on one of two upside-down chairs, then put the chairs in an upright position for cantor Emilio Florido and guitarist Javier Ibañez who both quickly made their appearance.

Guerrero continued to dance without accompaniment; shortly thereafter, Florido began singing, clapping and tapping his feet to enhance the auditory effect, with Ibañez strumming his guitar.

At a stand on the opposite side of the stage lay Guerrero’s costumes on hangers. Without any known precedence, Guerrero dressed in full view of the audience, putting on an elegant costume. He grabbed a red cape, twirled and waved it around dexterously in wide arcs as a bullfighter would. Putting the cape aside, Guerrero resumed his flurry of thunderous zapateados and taconeos, displaying tremendous stamina and spectacular skill.

Astounding viewers with the widest range of variations, he conveyed marvelous choreographic innovations that amplified flamenco vocabulary, his legs and feet perpetually swift and nimble, his hands in classically graceful or quirky movements.

Guerrero next changed into a silver-colored pair of leotards and a black “camiseta”, with a long sash added to it. As he whirled around in rapid multiple tours, his footwork producing sounds a hundred horses’ hooves could not have matched, his sash fell off — this was most probably intended — and as he manipulated it, he engaged in even more fiery and frenzied dancing interspersed with arresting pauses, his air magisterial, arrogant or menacing.

Only 29, Guerrero looked much older on stage, presumably because of his strenuous, exhausting idiom. Those seated in front could notice him panting after every dance sequence, there being no pause between numbers. It might be added that Guerrero’s strong, rugged features seemed to reflect the demanding rigors of flamenco.

When he exited, ending the first part of the program, Florido and Ibañez each took turns demonstrating his individual expertise. Those whose orientation consists of melodious classic and romantic music, Broadway songs, Spanish and native airs may have found Florido’s extensive wailing a strange auditory experience. Yet the wailing infuses the flamenco with its peculiar ambiance  and flavor.

When Guerrero re-appeared, in still another elegant suit, he looked fresh  and refreshed. But moments later, the intensity and briskness of his dancing left his hair tousled, droplets of his perspiration visibly glistening while flying into space. How his awesome technique and overpowering facial expression kept astonishing the audience endlessly! At this point, one tends to conclude that dance — flamenco, that is, as interpreted by Guerrero, captures and encapsulates the soul of Spain much more strikingly than its drama or music.

The one-hour, tightly-knit, intensely gripping program titled “De Dolores” was a tribute to Guerrero’s grandmother Dolores. In print, the dancer declares: “Among my first memories of flamenco, I cannot forget the palos which started me dancing. And even more inevitable is the person who raised me, who introduced me to this art, who gave me my first boots, who came with me whenever I performed, the person who trusted me.”

Thank God for Dolores! Memories of her have led Guerrero to create a uniquely fascinating, magnificent flamenco concert. Dancer, cantor and guitarist fervidly acknowledged the thunderous applause, with Guerrero sliding down from the stage to graciously greet his admirers.

*  *  *

On Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Philamlife auditorium, scholars of the Klassikal Musika Foundation chaired by George Yang will sing Broadway hits. Concert highlight will be performances of international pianist Raul Sunico, eminent soprano Rachelle Gerodias and tenor Yang, the late bloomer who now sings with distinguished peers. The three will render classic pieces, with Rachelle and George interpreting operatic arias. Acclaimed baritone Andrew Fernando directs the show.

Ticket buyers will help develop KMF’s young vocal talents. For tickets (at only P500 each) call Tina, tel. 09175874912.













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