olgaVancouver International Flamenco Festival: Olga Pericet

Dates and Venue 30 October – 10 November 2013 | Various Venues

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Olga Pericet was the featured artist in this festival presenting flamenco artists performing in a range of styles – from traditional to contemporary, and soloists to ensemble works.

In the opening programme of the Festival last Nov 2, Pericet's De Una Pieza gave a new twist to Flamenco. In her notes, she states: "Time moves incessantly and generates new and continuous creations valid for the actual moment."

Indeed,the programme was unique. Never before had I seen homosexuality brought into the Flamenco. But that is the new tide, it seems, in Flamenco and in everything that's happening in the 21st century: gay pride. Dancer Juan Amaya "Pelon" did a Flamenco skit with an apron on and mimicking gay moves to the delight of the audience.

Another innovation in this "pieza" is the element of absurdity. Musical chairs are played as guitarist Antonia Jimenez sits on a stool, moves it to one side, tunes her guitar, and exits.

But naturally, the star of the show was Olga Pericet, dancer and artistic/musical director. Her costumes were dazzling--from white to blue to red ( in her last dance) manipulating the Manila mantilla so skillfully. Her adroit use of the castanets also awed the crowd in this 90-minute feat.

The singers Miguel Lavi and Jose Angel Carmona were likewise powerful in their delivery of their cante jondo songs as they accompanied Pericet's moves.

A rousing standing ovation greeted the pefrormers at the end of the show as Amaya and Pericet did a brief dance duet before exiting with the ensemble.

The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, founded 24 years ago by Rosario Ancer and Victor Kolstee, is an institution in Vancouver. Its mission is to be a gathering place for the ever-growing local and national flamenco community, taking the audience from flamenco’s origins to today’s continual evolution of music, song, and dance.

The Festival which started as a one-day fest, is now a two-week affair (Oct 30 - Nov 10) and features workshops and dance shows from both local and international dancers. For further info, click on Flamenco Rosario.

© 2013 Ed Farolan