Compañía Olga Pericet: Pisadas, A Woman’s End and Beginning (Flamenco Festival 2016) @ Sadler’s Wells Review

Flamenco: A style of dancing characteristic of the Andalusian Gypsies that is strongly rhythmic and involves vigorous actions such as clapping the hands and stamping the feet. Now, I’m sure this definition conjures up an image in your mind of a dancer perhaps more traditional in their approach to the recognisable dance style of Flamenco, however as expertly displayed by the powerhouse Olga Pericet, this fiery foundation is only the beginning of what the genre can bring.

Olga Pericet

Hypnotically drawing the audience to the depths of an oceanic landscape, Pericet is a vision of serenity, her mermaid-like aura the mystical focal point for the first act of the evening. Adorned in a beautiful ruffled fishtail dress, Pericet stays true to the genre of Flamenco with the circling of centre stage , but brings welcomed innovations in its tranquility and sustained use of silence, and also its integration of hip rotations, a quality typical in the genre of belly dancing.

Pericet throws the rulebook out of the window, contrasting the graceful nature of her initial creation with a masculine bravado, owning the stage with effortless arm placements, and completely wiping the floor clean of any competition with her unbelievable footwork. It’s as if her feet are talking and must be heard, a welcomed additional presence that contributes depth to the evening.

What makes the evening one to remember is the ensemble mentality. Pericet spearheads the evening however the live musical accompaniment of the production is its lungs; an element breathing life into the already impassioned performance. Paco Iglesias and Victor Márquez‘s stunning guitar compositions liven up the space, bringing an unpredictability, romance and ferocity that make this show a stand out. Singers Miguel Lavi, Miguel Ortega and Herminia Borja are the epitome of emotion. Powerful vocals give way to a vulnerability, every vocalist it seems singing for their lives, adamant in stopping the world in their tracks to listen to their stories. This truly is catharsis at its best.

Pericet is joined by esteemed Flamenco dancer Tacha Gonzáles, who beautifully presents power at its very best with a sequence dominated by ferocious footwork. She, like Pericet presents that dialogue between the musicians and her footwork that makes for a dynamic watch. Guest dancer Juan Carlos Lérida brings intrigue into the theatre. Amidst a backdrop of aesthetically beautiful roped netting upstage courtesy of Holly Waddington, Lérida introduces the character of a stag, incorporating the powerful arm placements and circling of Flamenco and the sustained balletic quality of Contemporary. This fusion of styles leaves me questioning what I thought I knew about Flamenco, and completely shatters my perceptions into pieces. Pericet along with her welcomed guests present an exciting evening of innovation, and I leave looking forward to next year’s line up of amazing Flamenco talent! 4/5

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Compañía Olga Pericet: Pisadas, A Woman’s End and Beginning was shown on Friday 26th February at Sadler’s Wells as part of this year’s Flamenco Festival. For more information on Olga Pericet, visit here…

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