There are not a lot of Spanish dance style shows being produced in Johannesburg, so those of us who love Spanish styles simply have to learn as best we can from the few that are produced.
Flamenco is the most popular of the Spanish dance styles so the Five Continent Las Minas Puerto Flamenco Tour from Spain is a big deal. Presented as a once off performance at The Lyric Theatre, Gold Reef City Casino,, on 24 May 2017, this production is something very exciting.
There is a cast of eleven, only three of whom are dancers. Gema Jimenez, Manuel Soto, and Bernardo Miranda were the vocalists, accompanied by Jose Tomas Jimenez and Javier Ibanez on guitar, and Manuel Oscar on Flemish flute, Juan Diego Saez on Flemish saxophone, and Lolo Planton on percussion. The three dancers, one female and two male, are Yolanda Osuna, Amador Rojos, and Eduardo Guerrero.
Being a government department of culture production, one can be sure that the artists and creative team were carefully selected to show the very best of flamenco, both in dance and in music.
The theme selected for this was an historical drawing on the various influences from the various ports through which Spanish sailors drew inspiration which contributed to the Spanish flamenco style. This is echoed in the various ports to which the tour will travel as it makes its way around the five continents.
I am not a Spanish dance or music fundi, so the various soleas, tanguillos, joys, milongas, and habeneros are lost on me as distinctive styles. However, I was never in any doubt that what I was watching was of superb artistic quality and wonderful integrity and passion. There might be other shows, other dancers, other productions which are as good, but I am certain that there are none that can be better. In other words, this is a benchmark production. Others can meet it or fall short. Either way, the Las Minas Puerto Flamenco Tour production is unforgettable.
I was entranced from the start to the end. I was disappointed not to be given an encore, but I understood. The dancers are working at a hectic tour pace and the altitude is unkind to physical performers. The energy they had already expended was unstinted. I just wanted more of this fabulous dancing and music.
What a treat!