With over seventy dancers taking part, this extravaganza was testament to the extraordinary enthusiasm and dedication of the Camino del Flamenco dance teacher, Rosa Maria Orgueil, who for the best part of a decade has been teaching local children and adults one of the most passionate and skilful arts of her native Spain and who was responsible for all the choreography. Her pupils were clearly enjoying themselves and put on a show of great verve and originality. Not always synchronised and occasionally out of step, they nevertheless danced with ‘duende’, the most important element of Spanish dance in a culture where age, shape and gracefulness are secondary to warmth, passion, vigour and spirit.
The smallest girls, from the Ingreso class, were delightful as they performed the Andalucia, whilst the older children in the Junior class confidently took the stage individually to do solos in the Tanguillo. Oye el Boom-Boom was a creative ‘Flamenco fusion’, which allowed the more advanced Transition class to mix Flamenco with popular dance: wearing sparkly tops and black trousers, they departed from the traditional costumes for this particular dance and clearly enjoyed infusing the music with their own personal interpretations. The most serious dances were the Cante Jondo Flamenco Palos of the Seguiriyas, where rhythms were beaten out with sticks (bastónes), while the Frutas Frescas showed a particularly graceful use of colourful shawls or mantónes to create patterns and unusual dance steps.
Special mention should be made of the costumes, wonderfully colourful and skilfully put together, tiered dresses, shawls, sparkling tops and simple shifts all adding to the impressiveness of the show and the audience’s enjoyment of a spectacular evening. Sara Cook, responsible for all the children’s costumes, had clearly put in an immense amount of time and effort to produce authentic and beautiful clothes.
In addition to the pupils, the audience was treated to some fine guitar solos from accomplished Flamenco musicians Ramon Ruiz and Mateo Suarez and to some heartfelt solo dances from both Rosa Maria and Anita la Maltesa.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable and very well paced evening with a great variety of music and dances which left the audience exhilarated. The only thing missing was the men, who provide a powerful and wonderful contrast to the women in true Flamenco dancing and were notable by their complete absence. Perhaps it’s time to start a boys’ class, Rosa Maria?