Flamenco: Passion as dance/MSO plays at SSC reunion

SUNDRY STROKES - The Philippine Star

Eduardo Guerrero’s flamenco recital at the CCP Little Theater evoked several titles, among them “Dance as Passion,” “Passion as Dance,” “A Fantastic Feat,” “A Dancer on Fire.” For all that, the curtains opened on a quiet note, with Guerrero standing perfectly still, torso and feet bare, a cape over his shoulders. He began to move his arms and legs lithely in all directions, laying his cape on the floor.

Then he flaunted it, one side in black, this matching his trousers, the other, in fuschia. Deftly twirling the cape while he himself whirled around, he was a flamenco dancer turned bullfighter, or a bullfighter turned flamenco dancer. How the cape flew in arcs all over the stage!

As Guerrero did in his recital last year, he next dressed in an elegant costume in full view of the audience, not forgetting to put on his shoes, of course. Then the torrent of zapateados and taconeos started, his arms and legs graceful and angular by turns.

Devising his own innovative and imaginative choreography, while expanding the flamenco’s vocabulary limit with various arm and leg contortions and twists, he would dance with feet, toes or heels, and also slide down from a sitting position on his ankles.

As the show progressed, his exceedingly rapid zapateados and taconeos conjured the hooves of a hundred horses racing in the wind, or jack-hammers going a hundred times per minutes, or the rat-tat-tat-tat of machinegun fire directed at the enemy, the audience holding its breath! All these auditory wonders were augmented and amplified by the dancer’s finger-snapping and hand-clapping, and by those of singer Manuel Soto accompanied by guitarist Javier Ibañez. In solo numbers, both aroused attention and admiration in their own right.

One incredible marvel which dancer, singer and guitarist offered was their flawless, perfect, spontaneous synchronization, with every stamp of the dancer’s foot exactly coinciding with the singer’s and guitarist’s rhythmic beat.

After stunning, spectacular or devastating footwork accompanied by overwhelming, multiple, swift turns and flailing of arms, Guerrero would stop abruptly, amidst uproarious applause, his perspiration gleaming on his face, his hand-clapping spraying the stage with droplets, his panting for breath obvious. Surely one need not be reminded that flamenco is a strenuous, intense, exhausting art whose basic aim is to express passion, emotion and spirit and thus inflame and enthrall the spectator whose excitement will reach unprecedented heights.

High praise is due Guerrero’s grandmother, he declares in the printed program: “Inevitably, I remember the person who introduced me to flamenco, who gave me my first boots to dance, who came with me whenever I performed, the person who trusted in me.”

Inevitably, that evening, Guerrero danced with his pliant, disciplined body inspired by a grateful heart.

After the bows, singer Soto engaged in a charming bit of flamenco, with Guerrero joining him as kibitzer, to audience amusement and appreciation. But the standing ovation was primarily for the magnificently fiery flamenco dancer: time stood still as he performed onstage.

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Prior to the recital, CCP V-P Christ Millado declared that certain Filipino folk dances have been influenced by the flamenco. In his welcome remarks, Spanish Ambassador Jorge Domecq graciously observed that Guerrero’s second visit emphasized the warmest relations between Spain and the Philippines.

Presentors were the Spanish Embassy, the Instituto Cervantes headed by Ramon Pedrosa, the CCP, and Bench.

MSO plays at SSC reunion

A reunion at my H.S. alma mater, St. Scholastica’s College, featured alumna Mitch Valdes, popular singer-comedian, and the Manila Symphony Orchestra which rendered classics under SSC faculty member and outstanding conductor Arturo Molina.

Sr. Mary Placid Abejo received several awards for avidly promoting music as dean and as founder of PREDIS which trains youngsters.

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On June 26, at 6 p.m., Christian Caragayan, student of Lourdes de Leon-Gregorio, will give a harp recital at the UST Museum.












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