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Dance Review : New Works By Ballet Espanol

August 19, 1986|SHELLEY BAUMSTEN

The Olympic Arts Festival of 1984 gave Los Angeles more than a taste for arts festivals. It gave us Ballet Espanol de Los Angeles, an outgrowth and expansion of director Roberto Amaral's earlier company. In a program of mostly new work Sunday at Japan America Theatre, Ballet Espanol did justice to its material (mostly flamenco), effectively showcased its guest artists and made a strong presentation of its collective talents.

Part I sampled a variety of dance forms, from the stately "Tambor de Granaderos" to the sprightly "Nineza." Part II offered the premiere of "Caravana," an hourlong flamenco suite, and the program consistently improved on itself.

First, Amaral's "La Vida Breve" solo ably demonstrated his elegant bearing and forceful movement. Then his "Lamento" solo embodied the very fusion of feeling and form.

"Albaicin," pitted cool classicism (Linda Vega) against torrid passion (Irene Heredia) in a love triangle that proved Amaral a skillful, responsive partner to both. Then Amaral's and Heredia's partnership ignited in the passionate and tender "Zorongo Gitano" pas de deux. Immersed in sensuality, Amaral wound in and out of Heredia's skirt, then wrapped her up in her shawl and led her offstage like a well-deserved prize.

"Alborea," Vega's splendid solo in Part I, prefigured her masterful, theatrical solo in Part II. "Bulerias" for Vega, Heredia, Isa Mura, Valeria Pico and Amaral closed the Part II "Caravana" with the affirmation of individuality that lies at the heart of flamenco.

Heredia was freewheeling and vivacious; Mura, earthy and powerful; Pico proud and elegant; Vega strong and confident, and Amaral, remote and explosive by turns. In a high-spirited finale, the caravan broke camp and the ensemble strutted and swept offstage.

Vega choreographed "Alborea," Mura contributed her own percussive solo and song, and the "Bulerias" dancers choreographed their own solos. All other choreography was by Amaral. Guitarists Antonio Duran and Bruce Patterson and singer Chinin De Triana provided superb accompaniment for all the other flamenco dancing, and crackling, overamplified taped music accompanied the rest.

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