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MUSIC AND DANCE REVIEWS

La Tania's Flamenco Embraces Elegance

May 12, 1997|JENNIFER FISHER

IRVINE — La Tania has one of the finest flamenco lines around--that is, to look at her is to imagine taking a perfect photograph of flamenco dance in action. A strikingly beautiful woman with serpentine arms, she arches her supple back and leans and swirls with a harmonious precision that's always elegant and self-contained.

The current edition of La Tania Flamenco Music and Dance, which ended a series of Southern California dates on the weekend at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, was as smoothly produced as the dancer's poses, with dramatic light and shadow, by Matthew Antaky, and mostly black or subtle-shaded costumes by Keiko, Granada and Marybel Mora.

The dancers--La Tania and guest Andres Marin--dominated the program, with spirited accompaniment by guitarists Juan Antonio Suarez and Roberto Castellon, and singers Jesus Montoya and Antonio De Jerez. They all got to dance, actually, as is traditional, but this occurred in the middle of the show--not the end when the "joining in" usually has a satisfying, finale-feel to it.

Marin proved to be an inventive, mannered performer, looking like a foppish Pacino or Brando--rebellious but sensitive with a little preening diva mixed in. Dressed in skin-tight black, he slouched like a reed-thin tough guy one moment, then used amazingly detailed footwork to power himself like a Hovercraft across the stage.

With La Tania's polish and Marin's studied petulance, the program tended to be less raw emotion than well-cooked spectacle. Whatever kind of dish it was, the audience Saturday night ate it up.

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