November 18, 2013

Theatre Flamenco ~ Con Nombre y Apellido

                                 Theatre Flamenco

I had the extraordinary luck of seeing a performance of Con Nombre y Apellido  (Name and surname) last night, the 17th of November.

 Con Nombre y Apellido

It was presented by the Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco at the Southside Theater at Fort Mason. The Southside is a tiny but terrific venue for seeing a performance in an intimate  environment. 

photographer unknown

I was fully expecting traditional flamenco dancing, which I love. It was anything but definitly NOT "traditional"! It was hi-tech, dramatic and experimental theater at its very best!

The program was divided into three sections and presented without an intermission. I almost always hate when they announce something like that before the show as it builds such dread in me (I'm not much for sitting quietly for extended periods of time). Sometimes I'm wonderfully delighted when I realize that it's over and I haven't even stopped to think, "When will this be over?" (see: Doubt ~ A Parable). Well, I was "Wonderfully delighted" this time! What a cascade of images and sounds that rushed and sometimes roared passed and even through me. The dancing was sensational! It was flamenco as I'd NEVER seen it before.

The presentation utilized all the very best of flamenco elements but took them all the way into the next century. (Oh, that's right, we're in the next century.) Well, I was floored! To tell what the presentation is like or to describe it is to take away the experience of seeing it for the first time with no knowledge of what you are about to witness. I have had too many of those wonderful experiences so I'm always careful not to ruin it for others. 

The group will be repeating the performance at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts in (where else?) Mountain View, on Saturday, November 23, 2013.

I will say that it brilliantly utilized electronics in addition to the fine acoustic, but at times electrified, achievements of the double bass playing by Sascha Jacobsen . . . 

photographer unknown

 . . .  the brilliant guitar work of José Luis Rodríguez . . . 

photographer unknown

 . . . and astounding vocal feats by José Cortes

photo by Lorie L. Evans

All this accompanied by the inspiration of sound designer/composer, Fermin Martinez.

photographer unknown

The Dancers:

Carola Zertuche was born in Torreon, Mexico. She moved to Spain to study with flamenco artists there and performed with the company Los Tarantos.

photo by Russ Gelardi

Cristina Hall was born and raised in San Francisco; she has been living and performing flamenco in Spain for the past twelve years and has studied with renowned flamenco artists there.

photographer unknown

Marien Luevano is a native of Mexico and has performed internationally as well as in Granada and Sevilla, Spain. She founded her dance company, “El Duende”, in 2005 (definition of the word, Duende).

photographer unknown

Ricardo Rubio is a director, choreographer and flamenco dancer born in Mexico City. He is an Artistic Member of the National System of Art Creators and FONCA (Mexico’s National Fund for Culture and Arts).

photographers unknown

I let nothing out of the bag by reprinting what is on the group's website:

"We celebrate our 47th Anniversary with the presentation of “Con Nombre y Apellido“, an exploration into the diverse national and cultural identities in both our city and the art of flamenco. Artistic Director Carola Zertuche will honor the famous families throughout flamenco history that have maintained a lineage and tradition for the art form – itself a mix of Spanish, Gypsy, Jewish, African, and Moorish influences. Using that tradition as a point of departure, Zertuche will reflect on the new crop of artists who are not of those families, nor of Spanish origin, yet have steeped themselves in that tradition and are pushing flamenco forward. Zertuche will integrate her Mexican roots with Spanish Gypsy, Asian and American artists who have earned renown in the art form – despite not having a “name.”

“One has to admire Zertuche (Artistic Director) for pushing the dance borders while remaining true to flamenco rhythms and style.”
- Dance critic Renee Renouf

They told us before the performance they were streaming it on the Internet so I took no photos for fear of doing something to ruin the streaming; I did when they were taking their bows, though.

Links to performance videos at the bottom of this article.

photo by Styrous®

photo by Styrous®

 backstage with Marien Luevan
photo by Tracey Snelling

Carola Zertuche - Artistic Director/Choreographer/Dancer
Ricardo Rubio - co-Artistic director/set Design
José Luis Rodríguez  - music Director/Guitarist
José Cortes - singer
Sascha Jacobsen - bassist
Fermin Martinez- Sound Design and Mutimedia
Cristina Hall and Marien Luevan - Dancers/Choreographers

Theatre Flamenco
150 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone & Fax: (415) 826-1305

Links to:

Theatre Flamenco performances
 ~  on YouTube 
 ~  on Vimeo

Ricardo Rubio performances
 ~  on YouTube  

Carola Zertuche performances
 ~    on YouTube

Cristina Hall performances
~  on YouTube

Marien Luevan performances
 ~  on YouTube
 ~  Migration  - Vancouver International Flamenco Festival
 ~  Yo "La Morris" on Vimeo

Ricardo Rubio and Fermin Martinez performances
 ~ on YouTube
 ~  Egiptanos on YouTube

Ricardo Rubio blog (en español)  

There is an update to this article: Theatre Flamenco ~ Con Nombre y Apellido Pt. 2

What a fantastic treat for the eyes, ears, mind and soul. It is dancing at its finest and, as I said at the beginning of this article, theater at its absolute best. Thank you.

Styrous ~ November 18, 2012


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