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Flamenco in pure forms and tapas in several

April 20, 2006|Debra Levine

Flamenco and tapas are a classic Spanish pairing, but this weekend in particular, there seems to be reason to save the airfare to Madrid.

At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday, two of flamenco's young virtuosi, Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez, lead the nine dancers and seven onstage musicians of Nuevo Ballet Espanol in their full-evening piece "Flamenco Directo." Rojas and Rodriguez have shocked the highly codified flamenco community by discarding froufrou costumes and castanets to get to their vision of flamenco puro. Though flamenco is an art form steeped in improvisation, not only is "Directo" choreographed, but modern dance is infused into the mix; that's the nuevo part.

To prolong the Andalusian fever, you can top off your Sunday at Ciudad, where tapas chef Kajsa Dilger pairs savory dishes (goat cheese fritters with sherry-soaked cherries; saffron paella with seafood, chorizo and chicken) with Spanish wines starting at 5 p.m.

For the ambitious, Ciudad is walkable from the Music Center; the restaurant also offers a $5 parking and shuttle service to and from Bunker Hill.

But if you miss the downtown version of L.A.-meets-Madrid, you can head to Silver Lake, where El Cid restaurant continues its long tradition of presenting live flamenco shows. Housed in a building that dates to the turn of the last century, El Cid is authentically kooky -- complete with bullfight paraphernalia in a setting that looks like a dungeon.

The club's new ownership says it is keeping El Cid's $29.95 three-course dinner-and-show combo, though a revamped menu also offers tapas (steak/gorgonzola, chicken empanada, ceviche) and draws on South American wines.

Wednesday and Friday through Sunday nights, an all-female flamenco revue pounds the wooden stage. And this Sunday, after the main show, nuevo flamenco guitarist Emilio will perform in his "Modern Gypsy" show.

On Thursdays male-female duo Angelita y Alfredo get their turn. Guitarist Gino D'Auri accompanies, along with Miguel Demalaga, an Argentine who quit his job as a concrete worker for his true passion of flamenco singing.


-- Debra Levine

Nuevo Ballet Espanol, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, 135 N. Grand Ave., L.A. 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. $20-$75. (213) 972-0711, Ciudad, 445 S. Figueroa St., L.A. (213) 486-5171, El Cid, 4212 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake. $29.95. (323) 668-0318,

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