Gala Flamenca, which brings Sadler’s Wells Flamenco Festival to an exuberant close, is a joyous celebration of the genre. Bringing four of the world’s most celebrated flamenco dancers together has resulted in an evening of bold and innovative performance.
At just 24 years old, Belen Lopez’s solo Alegrias is astounding in its technical accuracy. Her self-assurance continues to astonish throughout Fandangos, in which she is joined by the charismatic Manuel Linan and passionate Pastora Galvan. Brandishing a silver umbrella which resembles a sword, Linan comes across as a mix of Gene Kelly, Emcee in Cabaret and Zorro. His solo is a tour de force, embracing the dramatic nature of the flamenco form in bright red shoes and matching braces.
The evening’s choreography is intricately detailed and rhythmically surprising. All of the choreographers draw on elements from the world of dance, from hip hop to ballet, with Pastora Galvan managing to steal the show in Seguirilla. Her work here is immediate and demands attention. She is a woman determined to be looked at – angry, gallant and funny. As she casually picks up her jacket, she flings herself into another round of astounding toe-tapping before cutting herself off seemingly halfway through and marching offstage. She cleverly leaves us wanting much more. But it is the singer Rosario Guerrero, “La Tremendita”, who provides the highlight of the evening. Standing in a spotlight, her gravelly voice wrenches at the heart with a magnificent rendition of Milonga – and she rightfully deserved her standing ovation.