After a successful season at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch, La Rosa brings their superb new production ...EN AL TABLAO FLAMENCO (...in the flamenco tablao), to the Artscape Theatre from 14 to 23 February 2013. It is choreographed by El Truco from Madrid and directed by Carolyn Holden.
Tablao, meaning 'wooden stage' in Spanish, refers to the small piece of wooden floor used in flamenco performance. Featuring the cream of South Africa's flamenco dancers, singers and musicians, this production explores the dynamics of Spanish night-life during the early 1940s. Beauty, grace, passion, pride and a touch of humour are juxtaposed with exploitation and soul-searching in this unique staging of flamenco. As Holden explains, "Last year, with the successful PENA FLAMENCA, I showcased an aspect of flamenco, the Pena, where the community celebrates flamenco in a relaxed informal environment without an audience present. In this new production the context of a tablao demonstrates the shift to a more structured, commercial type of flamenco performance."
The characters in ...EN AL TABLAO FLAMENCO weave together vignettes typical of a tablao - there is the main dancer aka the 'Diva'; the overworked dancers; the dueño (owner/barman); two lovers in an audience filled with foreign soldiers; flamenco 'wannabes'; and two men at odds over the treatment of a woman, the woman's solitude and the barman's choice between following money or his passion.
The background to this new production encompasses what happened during the Second World War, when General Franco offered America the opportunity to establish military bases in Spain to facilitate access to Europe. Franco encouraged the establishment of tablaos as a means to market Spain and its diverse cultural products to foreigners, particularly Americans. As a result, flamenco artists were frequently exploited, tainting the reputation of flamenco as an art form. It was only after the demise of Franco during the 1970's that flamencos were able to begin breaking down the stereotypes associated with flamenco and re-building the integrity of this form.
La Rosa's association with choreographer Eliezer Truco Pinillos 'La Truco' spans 12 years, starting out as a teacher-pupil relationship when director Carolyn Holden attended La Truco's classes for the first time in Madrid in 2001. La Truco's first visit to South Africa in 2002 resulted in the formation of a firm friendship between the two, and a working relationship that has transcended the geographic boundaries that separate them. La Truco's techniques and unique flamenco style permeate La Rosa's repertoire. Thanks to the assistance of the Embassy of Spain, in April 2012 Truco returned to South Africa to create this new work on the company.
Dancers in this production include soloists Lisa Ventura, Kim 'Kiki' Pretorius, Ché Adams, Zethu Mtati, Ndumiso 'Faya' Tafeni, Luvuyo Simandla, Nicole 'Nuria' Brown and a debut by Lathiwe Kula. La Rosa's musical ensemble, led by Bienyameen Camroodien, includes percussionist Robert Davids, flamenco guitarist Robert Jeffery and cantaora Loreán Swartz. The musical director is Bienyameen, lighting design is by Paul Abrams and the costumes are by Illka Louw.
...EN AL TABLAO FLAMENCO is at the Artscape Theatre from 14 to 23 February 2013 nightly at 8:15pm with matinees on Saturdays at 2:30pm and a 6pm performance on Sunday 17 January. All tickets cost R120 to R140 via Computicket and 0214217695 at Artscape.
La Rosa is a full time dance company based in Cape Town. Founded in 1990, La Rosa is a long-standing organisation with an excellent reputation for producing professional, innovative productions within the South African context. Having established itself as a leading company in the furthering of the arts, La Rosa serves as a key transformation and change agent reaching out to all the parts of the community. In order to sustain its unique offering in South Africa, La Rosa empowers its people to be skilled professionals in dance, production, dance education, administration, marketing, fund-raising and theatre practice and has been instrumental in establishing creative, innovative training methods for rhythm and co-ordination using flamenco as its tool. In 2010 Flamenco was acknowledged by UNESCO as a World Intangible Heritage.