IMPRESSIONS OF: Soledad Barrio + Noche Flamenca

IMPRESSIONS OF: Soledad Barrio + Noche Flamenca
Deirdre Towers/Follow @spiffmoves on Twitter

By Deirdre Towers/Follow @spiffmoves on Twitter
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Published on September 29, 2012

Presence as a Masterpiece

IMPRESSIONS OF: Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca

September 18th through September 30th at The Joyce Theater
September 29th, 2012
New York City


Deirdre Towers, guest contributor to The Dance Enthusiast

Soledad Barrio dares to touch us, to appeal to our empathy, and evoke an image of courage despite impossible circumstances. This Madrileña, acclaimed by Alastair Macauley to be one of the greatest dancers of any genre, seems now to transcend dance all together. She commands our attention, emotionally and spiritually. She could be singing an aria or standing for a painter wrestling with a portrait of dignity in the face of death.

Soledad Barrio , Noche Flamenca Photo,© Zarmik Moqtaderi


When I first saw Barrio perform, Noche Flamenca was still an idea yet to be conceived. She had come to perform in Santa Fe, New Mexico at the invitation of Martin Santangelo, her current husband, father of her two children, and artistic director of Noche Flamenca. Martin was performing then for Maria Benitez Company, along with Alejandro Granados, a dancer from a family of flamencos known for his relaxed, eccentric wit who is performing this week in Noche Flamenca. Almost twenty years ago now, Barrio was fast and feisty. In-your-face, raw, and scrappy, she had an erotic edge.

Perhaps Barrio was just picking up the trend in flamenco at that time, which was to go as fast and punk as possible. But over time, she has sanded off those rough edges, matured her intense dance with elegance and and restraint. For a time, she moved with an archness that was playful. Slowly, her presence became her masterpiece, more than her steps or style, as precise as those are. Now, a new shade of raw is emerging. Miraculously, in her performance of the flamenco palo Soleares in a solo called Soledad, Barrio seems to bypass a personal statement to speak for anyone who endures pain, alone.

Soledad Barrio , Noche Flamenca Photo,© Zarmik Moqtaderi

Never having witnessed Sarah Bernhardt, I can't compare Barrio to that acting legend but I can bow to a choreography that tackles tragedy. The overlapping of the singers at the beginning of Barrio's  solo in this year's season at The Joyce Theater continues to haunt me with its poignancy. I wonder what Pina Bausch would have thought of her performance, what notes she would give her or further challenges.

Noche Flamenca continues at the Joyce Theater through Sunday, September 30th.
for performance info click here
for more on Noche Flamenca, click here


The Dance Enthusiast

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