On Saturday we went into the city with our dancer daughter to see Soledad Barrio and her company Noche Flamenco at the Joyce Theater. I do not remember ever being so electrified by a performance or a performer. The video barely hints at the power of this woman and her company.
I already feel myself to be Spanish (I am not) and a gypsy (I am not). I have two Spanish horses and a Spanish dog. I love the Spanish language. I love Spain – the people, the animals, the warmth, the cafe con leche, the culture. So seeing Soledad was like a divine intervention. She is a dance shaman, a woman who changes the molecular structure of the air around her, who tangles us in an irresistible web of rhythm and shape. I can’t wait to see her again!
I have to share Alistair MacCauley’s description in the New York Times, September 2011:
The many kinds of rhythmic footwork, all glorious, that occur during the solo — cascades, crescendos, accelerations and decelerations — are all part of one concentrated stream of consciousness. She is often still, but her stillness is always a preparation, a display of brimming intensity. Effects that have been electrifying in the past — sudden off-balance pivots on the spot where she then returns to a point of focus as if to a psychological fixation or freezes in powerfully back-bent positions — still occur brilliantly, but like passing moments amid a larger and consuming thought.
That thought continually moves on. While framing her face gorgeously with hands and arms like a wreath, she’s never saying “Look at me” but always “Where next?” Holding one arm flexed, she waits as if deciding; then she brings her raised hand softly over her face as if ruefully; and then pow! She’s off, her whole body driving her forth into the next adventure of her soul.