The Inimitable María Pagés

If ever you feel inclined to see an example of flamenco that the vast majority of us could never even hope to emulate in our dreams, then do go and see María Pagés who is currently performing at Sadlers Wells. Her show ‘Autorretrato’ or ‘Self-Portrait’ is perfectly choreographed to showcase her exceptional talent as a dancer. ‘Autorretrato,’ as the name suggests, is an attempt to delineate the self through dance. Pagés brings to her performance a deliberate reflexivity, even as she playfully engages with the many selves that she constructs and frames, only to release again into movement. Flamenco becomes a sophisticated means of self-exploration here. Mirrors and frames figure large on stage, always foregrounding the question of identity; so does the dancer’s ability to maintain the traditional parameters of flamenco whilst also constantly reaching beyond them with the skill of a virtuoso towards an almost existentialist quest for the meaning of things. She uses dance as a language with which to dialogue with painters, poets and lyricists, so that her own artistic subjectivity is forged through this deliberate inclusion of others and other media. Of course, by doing so, Pagés recalls the poet Lorca’s efforts to combine poetry, painting and flamenco in his pursuit of art. Pagés brings tremendous power to the dance, together with a strong visual awareness, using rich fabrics and colours. Underlying this entire, highly skilled choreography is a politics of openness, one that she shares with the poets and painters whose work she calls upon. In one piece, she and her accompanying dancers come on stage in kimonos… Pagés thereby makes a rare gesture of acknowledgement to the enormous contribution made to the development of flamenco by the Japanese. Most breathtaking of all is the final piece, an alegriás/cantiñas that leaves her audience reeling from the dizzying moves of her mantón. Here it is:

February 24, 2010 Post Under General - Read More

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