It has been twelve years now since Madrid's; "Fundacion Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas" began sending flamenco groups to GALA Theatre and on U. S. tours. Each year they design a new project and perform some of the most innovative and ingenious flamenco shows you will ever witness, with brilliant musicians and top notch performers. The shows are always intimate mixtures of polished dancers, fine musicians and the most typical singers of the idiom bringing to life the feeling and passion of Andalucía.
As an avid aficionado of the Casa Patas Restaurant and Foundation in Madrid, I've followed their DC visits for years and attended elegant, exciting shows at the restaurant in Madrid as well. However, I much prefer the thrilling and well produced spectacles they create for their yearly tours of the U.S.
In past editions Casa Patas has tampered with the limits of flamenco exploring, in its musical arrangements most of all, new paths and influences. In the 2015 version for the first time the group brought a 'cajon' player and in former editions of the show they've included flute and clarinet, violin, saxophone, harmonica and even trap drums. Nevertheless, this year they decided to bring a stripped down, essential version of what a 'tablao' or typical flamenco presentation should be; three dancers -two males and a female-, two singers (the soaring Trini de la Isla and Roberto Lorente) and one musician, guitarist Jose Almarcha.
The result is an austere, refined, balletic performance that, true to its title highlights; 'The Silences of the Dance'. Francisco Hidalgo, choreographer and director of the ensemble, has created an authentic and stylish work and the dancing of Ruben Puertas was puckish and enchanting, in particular when he performed with castanets. There were intimations of the sexuality and frenzy of flamenco in the collaborations between Hidalgo and Lucia de Miguel, that left this viewer wanting more. When Ms. Miguel danced alone she exuded strength and dominance except when she performed a graceful 'Alegrias' pirouetting around and through a large 'mantilla' (veil).
There were moments of haunting beauty in the show that caused goose bumps and even tears. The tableaus, the simplicity of the presentation were reminiscent of other eras long ago and the end result was a desire to go back to the earth, to travel to Sevilla, Granada or Cadiz in search of the richness of Moorish Spain and the roots of flamenco. If you enjoy flamenco try to catch this exquisite treat next year around this time when they return. If the flamenco spirit moves you, go to www.casapatas.com for more on this extraordinary program.