Flamenkisimo review: Fast, intense and exhilarating

Luz y Sombra de Flamenco
Tom Mann Theatre, July 27

★★★½

This modest flamenco show presented by Flamenkisimo received a warm welcome from an audience that listened acutely, watched intently and rewarded the performers with participating comments of appreciation and encouragement.

Chachy Penalver brought great intensity to her performance.

Photo: Amy Brown

While the emphasis was on the music – guest guitarist Paco Lara, singer Zoe Velez and percussionist Byron Mark – the two dancers made more than a visual impact.

Chachy Penalver is a performer of considerable character. Curvaceous in a close-fitting costume for her main solo with its bursts of heel-pounding zapateado, she dances with great intensity – perhaps a little too much for some of her choreography – but can also bring a sunny glow to the mood of her dance.

Roshanne Wijeyeratne's main solo was the climax of the program, presenting the theatrical as well as dance skills of a seasoned performer. Her full figure gave little clue to the speed and flexibility of her feisty style. It was exhilarating.

In addition to their solos, the dancers joined the musicians as an ensemble, which is always enjoyable for the close onstage communication essential in this artform. Zoe Velez sang with impassioned power and delicate grace, as required. Paco Lara did not offer as much exciting guitar playing as anticipated. Byron Mark had a minor role, but contributed the musician's dance delightfully in the traditional finale.

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