Rafaela Carrasco brings the art of flamenco to the stage in a breath-taking and memorising performance

Flamenco Festival - Rafaela Corrasco

Rafaela Carrasco brings the art of Flamenco to the stage in a breath-taking and memorising performance

Whether you’re in the smokey atmosphere of an old taverna or back room of a bodega, the Art of Flamenco can leave you mesmerised.

In Rafaela Carrasco‘s piece, the sound of a scorched, voiced singer combined with the passionate tones of the flamenco guitar, accompany this solo dancer.

This dance is a unique art form, native to the Andalucian region of Southern Spain and may have been influenced by Gypsies and early Moorish culture. These dances originally reached Spain as early as the Greek times, 500-250 BC, where Indian dancers where brought into Spain via the port of Gadir, today known as Cádiz, to entertain the royals of the time. The arrival of the Moors nearly one thousand years later, and also the gypsies, who brought with them, dance and music styles from Pakistan and Persia enriched the existing Andalucian style.

Born in Seville in 1972, Rafaela Carrasco, is a breathtaking dancer, who moves with luxurious fluidity. She is one of the most important Flamenco dancers of this younger generation and is a revolutionary creator of cutting edge choreography.

From within the rich and intimate setting of the Quays theatre, Carrasco opened her show in complete darkness. Then, from beneath a pin-spot, she moves her body with a contemporary feel to the sound and rhythm, of a clock mechanism. No fan, castanets or manton, just pure expression throughout her limbs.

At one point, hitching the hem of her skirt, clicking and clapping, Carrasco scrapped her lace shoe across the boards, emulating the footwork of a skilled figure skater. I swear that my brain was tricked into hearing the ice beneath her blade. A cantaor (flamenco singer) then combined her choreography with a gentle, speedy staccato hand clap.

Further accompaniment was provided by a second vocalist, whose breath control and circular breathing technique was evident to all hence such rapturous applause as the spotlight faded. Complete darkness fell upon the audience once again. Then, a solo spotlight revealed a lone, truly accomplished acoustic guitarist. This powerful art conveyed deep emotion and passion, that did reduce the best of us to tears. That same light, shot across the stage, as we heard an alternative sound, of a musician not only strumming but drumming out, a further percussive rhythm.

I do feel, that for such a feast of talent, these artistes deserved more recognition, either in the form of a ´Flamenco Programme´ celebrating this two day festival, together with an indication of what each dance portrayed. Carrasco continues to push the boundaries of Flamenco, but without losing its true essence and integrity, towing a long trained dress with controlled dignity.

For anyone unfamiliar with this true ´Spanish Art´ this sophisticated show is a must! Just sit back and let their passion flow over you, in the manner that it is meant.

After three encores, this truly superior dancer, and her compadres, bowed out to the strains of “MUY GUAPA!”

5 out of 5 stars

Rafaela Carrasco performed at The Lowry as part of Flamenco Festival on 27 February 2018