Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena
UW World Series
March 5, 2004
The scratchy sound of guitar and strings echoed from a Victrola while the feline-esque flamenco dancer, Eva Yerbabuena stretched out over a wooden chair, touching on nostalgia from a by-gone era. This dreamy space complimented by dim lighting and Yerbabuena’s angular moves, would later be replaced by polyphonic rhythms of drums, guitar, feet and hands, punctuated by impassioned vocals of three cantaores (Enrique Soto, Pepe De Pura and Segundo Falcón), all stars in their own right. However, the audience needed to warm up first. The cantaores appeared after Yerbabuena’s ethereal performance and they strutted out their vocal technique during the “Tona” (Singers) and prepared the audience for a
fiery evening that heated up an otherwise cold and damp Seattle night.
The lights rose up on a row of some of Spain’s top musicians, including, guitarist/composer Paco Jarana, guitarist Salvador Guitièrrez, saxophonist/flautist Ignacio Vidaechea and percussionist Antonio Coronel. The musicians lit into a cacophony strums and beats, while the troupe of dancers
including, three women (Marta Arias, Sara Vàzquez, Mercedes Ruiz) and two men dancers (Luis Miguel González, Juan Carlos Cardoso), responded with fancy footwork and synchronized movements that mesmerized audience members and left me speechless. All the jaleos (encouraging words such as “tome,” and “ole”) refused to leave my throat. Despite all of the excitement that the dancers provoked, the
audience remained oddly silent waiting for the star, Eva Yerbabuena to return to the stage.
As the black-clad dancers eloquently exited the stage, Eva made her grand entrance, dressed in a white gown with a long train. Her diminutive figure defied her large talent and she commanded my full attention with her elegant turns, arches, and zapateado (footwork). Her white gown often appearing like a cloud roaming across the sky with fringe and flounce adding to the beauty of her flores (hand movements) and braceo (arm movements). Although I was sitting too far away from the stage to catch the expressions moving across Eva’s face, I could feel her emotional palette and her spiritual connection to the vocalists and guitarists. This by far was the most enjoyable segment of an overall
magnificent performance. And the audience responded with hoots, hollers and a few jaleos thrown in for good measure.
Eva’s crowning glory was followed by the dancers performing, De La Cava (Seguirilla) and then the return of Eva in which the dancers glided off the stage in an imaginative fashion which highlighted Eva’s formidable choreography talent. Draped in an elegant black gown with purple flounce, Eva displayed her artistry during the Del Puente (Soleà) segment while sensual woodwinds and guitars left
punctuation marks hanging in mid-air. A percussive section entitled Tiempo Al Tiempo followed this beautiful sequence as the dancers matched beats with the percussionist and the musicians’ palmas. Then the company performed their grand finale (Chirrín-Malacatín), seducing the audience with Andalusian exoticism. The concert ended with Eva’s repeated performance of the introduction, alone in the
spotlight dancing to a scratchy recording of guitar and strings.
The performance swept by too quickly and I felt my head spinning from all of the excitement. As the stellar troupe of dancers and musicians prepared for their next performance and the completion of their lengthy North American tour, the primal beats and curvy movements will be remembered by those fortunate enough to witness Spain’s innovative flamenco talent far removed from its sunny origins.