en el Tablao Flamenco (meaning in the flamenco tablao), choreographed by El Truco from Madrid and directed by Carolyn Holden can be seen at the Artscape Theatre until 23 February.
Featuring some of South Africa’s best flamenco dancers, singers and musicians, el Tablao Flamenco 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. According to Holden, "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 el Flamenco Tablao weave together vignettes typical of a tablao – there is the main dancer (the ‘Diva’); overworked performers; the owner/barman; two lovers amongst an audience of foreign soldiers; flamenco ‘wannabes’; 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.
World War II forms the backdrop of el Flamenco Tablao, where General Franco offered the USA the opportunity to establish military bases in Spain to gain access to Europe. Franco encouraged the establishment of tablaos to market Spain and its diverse cultural products to foreigners - particularly the Americans. As a result, flamenco artists were frequently exploited, tainting the reputation of flamenco as an art form.Only after Franco's demise in the 1970’s were flamencos able to begin breaking down the stereotypes associated with flamenco and re-building the integrity of this form.
Performers in in el Flamenco Tablao 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.
Performances of ...en el Tablao Flamenco at the Artscape Theatre are nightly at 8:15pm until 23 February 2013,with matinees on Saturdays at 2:30pm.All tickets cost R120 to R140 via Computicket and 0214217695 at Artscape.
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