Write because you want to, not because you have to.
Overall rating: ★★★★★ Date attended: 17/02/2019
Walking into the Nexus Arts for the show Ida Y Vuelta (There and Back) by the incredible cast of Alma Flamenca, I was equally curious and intrigued by what awaited me. Little did I know that my expectations would be exceeded by how versatile, impactful, and eclectic the range of performances would be!
There is no dialogue or introduction to the 60 minute performance, but I think that's what I loved so thoroughly about the show! Personally, I had never really given it a second thought as to how the body and movement could affect one's emotional state, but that's exactly what I experienced from attending Ida Y Vuelta. These forms of dance and performing arts are nothing like I had seen before. There were dancers, who would sync their movements to the rhythm of multiple music forms that were being played in the background (guitar, tabla, and even vocals)!
Starting off with a gentle, relaxing tune sung by Flamenco dancer Roshanne Wijeyeratne and with guitarist Paco Lara, the mood was set to be intimate, welcoming, and soulful. While I did not understand the song, since it was sung in Spanish, it boasted of a tranquil and calming sound that was preparing us for the excellence that came after.
Next, we were treated to a beautiful dance spectacle by a group of women, who nailed the choreography and owned the many frills on their dresses, whilst tap dancing and using a fan accessory in their hand to whisk us away with their breezy sways and joltingly excited moves that made us in the audience feel like we were part of a fiesta extravaganza.
We were, then, treated to the human version of the emoji of a woman dressed in a red frilly gown, as (from what I interpreted) she took us on a journey towards finding a sense of confidence. I honestly didn't think it would be possible to successfully embrace the atmosphere that was created on music and dance alone (and no words), but the cast from Ida Y Vuelta was able to perfectly encapsulate us into their world, where there are no boundaries and there is no discrimination - just pure love, happiness, joy, and soul.
Following this, we also had two solo dances - each of which was so hauntingly perfect that we got goosebumps! The one by Flamenco dancer Chachy Penalver, in particular, essentially left us wondering how someone of that stature had that level of energy to produce a dance piece that blew us away and attracted a standing ovation.
We were also blessed with the incredible talent by Indian tabla virtuoso, Jay Dabgar, who serenaded us through the art of the tabla music. Doing a duet with Roshanne later left us speechless, as they coordinated the tunes and the dance so effortlessly.
Wrapping up the performance, we had Flamenco singer Zoe Velez sing at an octave that one would only imagine to hear in an opera. She was simply fantastic and coupled with the music supplied by Paco, Alain Valodze and Adrian van Nunen, we felt like the encore for the performance was the best way to close what was an epic show.
Each performance that we witnessed had a consistent theme of starting off relaxed and slow, but then gaining momentum to create something that felt powerful and flawlessly brilliant! Throughout the show, I noticed the many human emotions, facial expressions and movements that were occurring in front of me, as each performer did their piece. While I was left wondering the entire time about what the song was about or why the dancer(s) in front of me was/were jumping from a determined look to a happy look to a poignant look, there seemed to be a connection of some sort that extended beyond the language barrier and created more of a spiritual experience that allowed us in the audience to appreciate and respect the diversity that took stage.
With a strong and vibrant cast of individuals, who were brought together from all corners of the world particularly for their skills and their colorful cultural backgrounds, the show presented with a deeply passionate sense of culture, community, and celebrations. It felt like you were in the streets of Spain, as you were walking down a busy street! Everyone on and off stage seemed to get into the mood to dance and celebrate the simplest of things, because they could! Not one single individual on and off stage could wipe the big smiles off their faces, as we all collectively watched in awe the true essence of Flamenco music, song, and dance.