YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Flamenco -- at a passionate pace

Yolanda Arroyo and a stellar corps of dancers from Spain create sound and fury in the frenzied 10-part performance.

January 29, 2007|Victoria Looseleaf | Special to The Times

Flamenco sensation Yolanda Arroyo strutted, swayed, skittered, swooped, streaked and stomped across the floor like a sexy tornado. With guitarist and husband Paco Arroyo and a group of stellar guest performers from Spain, the Barcelona-born, Los Angeles-based dancer-choreographer turned Glendale's Alex Theatre into a den of passion Saturday night.

The 10-part, 2 1/2 -hour program, "Herencia Flamenca" (Flamenco Heritage, originally created and performed at Hollywood's Fountain Theatre), was an object lesson in virtuosity, with everybody getting into the steamy act.

The evening was kick-started with "Tangos-Bulerias," a festive number introducing the company: Tomas Arroquero -- with his uber-long legs and arms (think an ole-spouting Tommy Tune), slithered in with furioso heel work; Yolanda Arroyo, in a riot of polka dots, matched his torso-bending turns, losing her hair comb within minutes, their dueling pas de deux a bullet train of jumps, hops and haughty looks.

Eva Rubichi soon commandeered the stage, her raspy voice beseeching, her hand-clapping, finger-snapping finesse elevating "Zambra por Bulerias" to high art. Rubichi, accompanied by Paco Arroyo and her husband, Domingo Rubichi, on guitars and his brother Jose Rubichi on percussion, ripped through a flurry of wailing emotions.

Arroyo, now in black lace, spread her arms, phoenix-like, before stampeding into split-leg kicks in "Solea." A series of abrupt turns and sensuous skirt manipulations brought her face to face with soulful singer Vicente Gelo, this flirty gambit ending with her down on one knee. Arroyo soon slammed into a dipping frenzy, her feet a frisson of angled kicks as she tore into a kind of trance-spinning in this electrifying dance drama.

Arroquero, 35, created a wall of sound in a solo outing, displaying stealthy footwork, one-legged turns and a healthy dollop of body slapping. His arms reached toward the sky before he scuttled backward in a woozy blur.

Nothing, however, could top Yolanda Arroyo's 20-minute "Tarantos." As if pushing away demons, her fingers wove an exotic tale before she unleashed an orgy of taps one moment, an astonishing jaunt across the floor on her heels the next.

This singular swagger fest was also highlighted by pelvic thrusts, shoulder shrugs and booty-shaking that even Beyonce and the Dreamgirls would envy.

Completing the program: expert, pizzicato-laden guitar solos by Paco Arroyo and Rubichi; a heated song and dance ditty, "Por Fiesta," by Fernando Soto; and a smile-filled, fever-pitched finale with the entire cast vamping like no tomorrow.

Who knew Glendale could be so hot?

Los Angeles Times Articles