IMPRESSIONS: Patricia Guerrero's "Flash Mob" at Brookfield Place's Winter Garden — Flamenco Festival

IMPRESSIONS: Patricia Guerrero's "Flash Mob" at Brookfield Place's Winter Garden — Flamenco Festival
Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram

By Deirdre Towers/Follow @deirdre.towers on Instagram
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Published on March 23, 2020
Photo by Bjorn Bolinder, Courtesy of Brookfield Place

March 12, 2020

Dancers: Patricia Guerrero, Nélida Tirado and NYC friends

Music: Marina Heredia

As New York City companies, schools, and theaters slammed their doors to COVID-19, an electric young dancer from Spain, Patricia Guerrero, opened and closed the Flamenco Festival at the Winter Garden atrium with a flash mob. 

Ballet Hispanico Academia’s stellar students and dancers of all ages swept their arms across their torso down and up, their hands bursting from fists to splayed hands at the crest of the wave. Grounded like trees with interconnecting roots, approximately 50 women and two or three men danced the sultry Tangos de la Penca, sung by Marina Heredia, choreographed by Guerrero’s mother MariCarmen, who runs a flamenco academy in Albayzín, Granada. Since the choreography was only three minutes, the dancers in polka dot skirts and flowers in their hair, repeated the dance three times, each time juicier and more heartfelt.

A god's eye view of the flamenco flash mob with dancers arching to the side
"Flash Mob"; Photo by Bjorn Bolinder, Courtesy of Brookfield Place

Following the flash mob, Festival Producer Miguel Marin expressed his relief that this community event could commemorate the 20th anniversary of the festival that was to include 30 companies performing 53 shows in 20 spaces. Themed as “Breaking Walls, Uniting Worlds,” it would have been the largest presented outside Spain. Marin trained at New York University in arts administration and cut his teeth revamping Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana in New York before initiating his festival in Spain. He closed his remarks with palmas, hand-clapping, to spur Guerrero to improvise to his beat.

Nelida Tirado lifts her arms over her head
Nélida Tirado; Photo by Bjorn Bolinder, Courtesy of Brookfield Place

Nélida Tirado — a New Yorker who trained at Ballet Hispanico and was a soloist/dance captain with Compania Maria Pages and Compania Antonio El Pipa — performed a mesmerizing solo. Dressed in a long, black velvet dress adorned with a gold manton (long fringed shawl), Tirado gave us a silent meditation, as powerful as a sermon, her arms slowly rising, her fierce, feminine energy rippling out over the city. The vastness of the atrium swallowed the sound of her footwork. On the small stage, under the palm trees, she often faced the two singers and guitarist to strengthen their connection.

In a purple dress, Aurora Reyes stomps her feet, her arms and fingers stylized
Aurora Reyes; Photo by Bjorn Bolinder, Courtesy of Brookfield Place

Tirado invited friends to join her on stage for the fin de fiesta. Aurora Reyes of Flamenco Latino was the first one out to celebrate. Having devoted her adult life to flamenco, Reyes milks the comic potential of Bulerías, the fast, sassy form counted in 12 that’s traditionally performed at parties. She plays against any expectations for wild, flashy footwork by rounding her back in an endearing waddle. With her shoulders rolling, fingers pointing, she never fails to make us laugh. 

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