This week, I got an invite from my friend Leslie to the Aperture Gallery for the opening of flamenco photo exhibit called "No Singing Allowed." It's a really impressive retrospective of photography of the Spanish artform, told from both the outsider's eye and by Spaniards themselves. I found it very telling how this vernacular dance was represented and interpreted by foreign photographers as something "exotic" and strange.
At the opening on Friday, the visitors were treated to a performance by Pastora Galván, a powerful flamenco performer who demonstrated how this art is alive and well. Above you can see her opening piece, deftly incorporating singing, clapping, tap, and movement of the enormous train on her dress. So amazing.
More performance by Galván after the jump…
Here Galván sheds her red train and does a powerful percussive piece. Here you see the emotional and improvisational quality of the dance, which stands alone even without the Spanish guitar traditionally associated with flamenco performance.
Galván is no spring chicken, and yet she tirelessly performed for nearly 20 minutes without break. Apparently flamenco is a danceform that doesn't privilege the young. In Spanish culture, you aren't considered to have enough "duende" (soul) until their 30s and often perform well into their 50s. As a middle-aged dancer, I gotta appreciate this.
In Galván's finale, she powers through a tap oriented piece. I love how the lighting made her just a sillouette against the white background.
In related news, February 11-21 is the 2010 Flamenco Festival in New York! So go out and catch yourself some of this rarely-seen-in-New York artform. You'll thank me.