Flamenco dancer and choreographer Manuel Liñan´s latest production, Sinergia, is sublime in its simplicity yet rich in personality.
The core elements – dance, song, guitar, percussion – flow, fluctuate, intertwine and connect, creating a mesmerising flamenco truth.
Liñan´s rapid footwork is stunning, punctuating the entire performance in phrase-like repetition.
His effortless blend of modern and traditional styles is delightful, enriched by a contrasting quality that’s soft and strong, reflective and playful.
Liñan is the only dancer in Sinergia, but by no means is this a solo act. Each artist in this all-male team carries his own flamenco weight, albeit balanced beautifully by Liñan´s choreographic skills and mastery.
The dark gypsy voice of David Carpio blends effortlessly with the haunting vocals of Ismael de la Rosa. Their spectacular singing – together with their pulsating flamenco hand rhythms – provide enough inspiration to both ignite and caress every move Liñan makes.
As does the beautiful guitar music of Victor Marquez, who displays remarkable skills both as soloist and accompanist.
Sinergia highlights the symbiotic collective, which makes for brilliant flamenco. Yes, we are thrilled by the artistry, but it is their interpersonal relationships which bind the pieces and touch our hearts.
The acapella martinete duet with Liñan and Carpio is captivating. This dancer-singer interaction is flamenco-typical, but Liñan intersperses the dark mood with lighter innovative theatricality, enabling us to experience the contrasting personalities of flamenco and those of the performers themselves.
As Carpio sings, Liñan – like a puppet master – lifts the singer’s arms, positions him, engages him in near embrace. Carpio responds, beating out the rhythm on the sole of Liñan´s shoe.
Sinergia contains all the essence of unadulterated flamenco, but gently deconstructs some of the more traditional formulae, particularly in the artists’ positions on stage.
White chairs are continually relocated, tipped, swivelled or removed. The artists sit facing each other, alone, or at an angle in an ever-changing, eye-catching chair-scape.
The lighting – simple whites and yellows with episodic injections of primary colours – provides a basic, but effective framework for these talented performers.
Notwithstanding moments of obvious choreographic repetition, leaving me pondering their theatrical intention, the overall Sinergia experience is extremely satisfying. Liñan´s artistic statements are bold and gratifying, quirky and personal.
It is rare indeed to be able to see flamenco of this calibre in small-scale venues outside of London.
If you crave an intimate flamenco experience in which you can almost feel the dancer’s breath, Sinergia is highly recommended.
Reviewed at The Pavilion Dance South West on 5 May.