Flamenco in New York
- 14 years ago By Editor
We were recently notified of an upcoming solo flamenco performance that sounds like it's going to be a lot of fun! The performance will be running from May 14th through the 16th and will feature Rebeca Tomás. Tickets will be $20-35 and are available either by phone (212-388-0388) or at the on-line box office. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8pm and Sunday at 3pm. Theater 80 Saint Marks 80 Saint Marks Place New York, NY 10003 Box office: 212-388-0388 Websitehttp://www.theatre80.net/ Here's more information about the event from their press release: Rebeca Tomás, a fierce and feminine New York-based Flamenco artist, makes her solo debut with "A Palo Seco," an evening of Flamenco music and dance, infused with an innovative and edgy New York feel. The production, performed by Tomás, two dancers, two singers and four musicians, will take stage May 14 to 16, 2010 at Theater 80 Saint Marks. The title, "A Palo Seco," is a phrase referring to some of the most emotionally raw elements within Flamenco. The performance is an intimate production of music and dance ranging from traditional pieces to repertoire to that is both modern and edgy. One of its highlights is "Metamorphosis," an original piece in which Tomás, costumed in the Bata de Cola (long-train dress typical of Flamenco), begins by playing classical piano, accompanied by both violin and electric bass. The piece evolves into a haunting choreography to modern American music that, in its essence, echoes the emotional depth so distinctive within Flamenco. Based in Manhattan, where she freelances as a soloist with various companies, Rebeca Tomás has been deemed "a fierce performer" (Explore Dance) and "a postcard image of the feminine Flamenco dancer" (Kansas City Metropolis). Since summer 2008, she has toured with the internationally renowned company Noche Flamenca. She also performs regularly with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Jorge Navarro's Pasión Flamenca, and Oscar Valero Flamenco Company. Tomás began her formal dance training in Granada, Spain at Maite Galán's Escuela de Danza Española. She later moved to Madrid, where she studied at the internationally renowned Flamenco Academy Amor de Dios under such figures as Maria Magdalena, La China, Manuel Liñán, and Rafaela Carrasco. There she appeared at various tablaos, including Al Andalus and Las Carboneras. She has also studied in Sevilla with Juana Amaya, Pastora Galván, and Yolanda Heredia. In May 2008, she received a grant from the Jerome Foundation to retu rn to Spain and deepen her studies in Bata de Cola, and in June 2008 she received a scholarship to participate in a summer intensive program at Jacob's Pillow. Petite yet strong, Tomás is only 5' 1," but appears much larger onstage. Her performing style is sharp, graceful and clean. "Being small, I have a low center of gravity," she confides. This might be why she can tightly execute a wide variety of turns, from repetitive "heel" turns and pirouettes, to the most famous of the female Flamenco turns, the vuelta quebrada, in which Tomás arches her back so completely that she never takes her eyes off the audience. She has also been praised for the musicality of her footwork, which displays an unusual precision of rhythm. Trained as a pianist, she connects intricately with her musicians, improvising freely and playfully with them. She also connects intensely with the audience, toying with it adroitly as she leads it through moments of joyfulness, severity, high energy and tension. Notwithstanding the novelty of a Flamenco dancer playing piano in a performance, she's an artist that traditionalists will be proud of. "I'm quite mindful of the tradition," she insists, "while finding my own personal style within it." Where she challenges the traditional form is in the aforementioned solo, "Metamorphosis," which is set to a thunderously dark storm of piano and grunt-laced singing that swells into an ominous chorus. Tomás pushes at the edges of convention, adapting Flamenco rhythms and footwork to radical and unexpected styles of modernist post-folk music. Elements of modern dance creep in, accompanied by unusual use of hands and dire expressions of face. Part of her background is Russian Jewish, and possibly the piece testifies to the inherited weight of mortality and heritage. "It has been an exciting process to create something that, for the first time, feels one hundred percent my own," she says. Tomás grew up in West Hartford, CT and attended the University of Rochester, where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and Comparative Religion, while also studying classical piano at the Eastman School of Music. It was on a semester abroad to Granada, Spain, during her undergraduate years, that she ran smack into Flamenco and found her calling. "I don't think I even knew it existed, but when I saw it that first time, there was no going back. I thought to myself, 'This is it. I have to do this. I have to know this. I have to become a part of this world, and this has to become a part of me.'" The evening will feature dancers Rebeca Tomás, Sol "La Argentinita" and Laura Montes. Musicians will be guitarist and musical director Pedro Cortés, bass player Sean Kupisz, violinist Alí Bello, percussionist Oscar Valero and singers David Castellano and Bárbara Martínez. Lighting Design is by S. Benjamin Ferrar. The production is directed and choreographed by Rebeca Tomás, who developed the original concept while abroad in Spain on a grant from the Jerome Foundation.

All Buzz  Post Buzz!