Vancouver International Flamenco Festival
20th Anniversary Celebration

Dates and Venues 28 June - 5 July 2009 | Various around Vancouver

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Flamenco runs through my veins as my maternal grandfather hails from Ronda, Andalusia. When I witness a flamenco dance, I am moved emotionally, particularly when I hear a cante jondo, that doleful expression of the soul in deep grief.

Flamenco Rosario in its 20th anniversary presented their special guest Isabel Bayón in what was a tour-de-force of essence and soul. With Jesús Torres playing his guitar with full intensity, and Miguel Ortega's Martinete, Bayón took us with her to a world where emotions become alive again. There were a few "oles" from the audience, from those accustomed to participate with the dancers, but because of the charisma of this Sevillian bailaora, the audience was in silent awe as they witnessed the flow and passion of this dancer. You could hear a pin drop as there were dramatic pauses, moments of solitary silence before we again heard the tapping of her shoes.

Miguel Angel Soto Peña's "Malagueña", another intense cante, brought me back again to the land of my forefathers, that fandango from Málaga, so soulful, so alive. But it's not always doleful and intense with the dances and the songs of Andalucia. There is also joy and celebration as Bayón, in her flaming and flowing red dress, swayed in joy as she concluded with Alegrías

The first part of the programme was also a magnificent display of classical Flamenco.Maria Osende offered us her Alegrías...what a joy seeing her fluidity through the stage. This was followed by Claire Marchand's Solea. What intensity and power! With her mantón de Manila, she danced like a graceful toreadora teasing an imaginary toro.

Finally, the only man in this display of Flamenco was Sabas Santos whose steps made the crowd wow at the grace and power of his strides. Manuel Tañe sang with passion only an Andalucian could feel, with full inensity, and I was again moved emotionally by his cantes. Victor Kolstee at the guitar was flawless as he strummed those Spanish strings to the accompaniment of the dancers.

Enhorabuena to Rosario Ancer and Victor Kolstee for this magnificent show, and for these past 20 years developing Flamenco in Vancouver and presenting these yearly festivals. ¡Hasta la próxima!

© 2009 Ed Farolan