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Dance Review

Canela Pura on a Passionate High

April 15, 2002|VICTORIA LOOSELEAF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The flowers and the fringe were flying at Santa Monica's Morgan-Wixson Theatre on Friday when the company Canela Pura (Pure Cinnamon) presented "Viejos Tiempos." A Fountain Theatre production, this fierce flamenco concert proved first-class, with sublime artistry the order of the evening.

Under the artistic direction of singer Antonio de Jerez--whose soulful vocal chops thrilled to the bone--the husband-wife team of guitarist Paco Arroyo and dancer Yolanda Arroyo also dazzled with incomparable technique and style to burn.

In her opening duet, "Cuatro Esquinas," with guest artist Marcellina de Luna, Yolanda Arroyo, who seems to have written the book on smoldering, positively oozed staccato bursts of footwork, while the duo's crisp unison moves also satisfied. De Luna's solo, "Habanera," cast the dancer as exotic bird, her stellar fan work sharp and sexy. Also guesting: Valeria Pico, whose swift, syncopated stomping and arched back gave off whiffs of unbridled sensuality in her solo, "Las Caracolas."

The company rocked in both "Rescordito" and "Alhambra," with Paco Arroyo plucking out pizzicato-like motifs in the latter, providing fine accompaniment as the female triptych let off machine-gun volleys of hot heel and toe work. Yolanda Arroyo gave new meaning to the word intoxicating with her solo, "Viejos Tiempos," her feet a blur as she executed a series of champion half-kicks.

With Scott Tuomey's sumptuous lighting and more fanciful costumes than one might encounter at an Edith Head retrospective, the night took passion to new heights. Who says the Westside doesn't know how to get down?

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