Review: Studio Flamenco’s Recuerdos

Studio Flamenco has moved up a few steps with their new show, Recuerdos, part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival.

The ten dancers are teachers and students of their Clarence Park studio, and rather than a collection of dance numbers, this time their program has a suggested narrative basis – a series of scenes along the Rio Guadalquivir, beginning with a smith banging out a rhythm on his anvil.

Susi Masi, in a black dress with red flounces, dances to the beat, as the cast, in white, representing mist, move gently around her before moving off, some of them returning later in black. The smith, Adrian van Nunen, discards his tools and sits down to slap out his rhythms on a cajon, guitarists Mardduk Gault and Aloysius Leeson add melody, and they are joined by personable singer Zoe Velez.

The dancing is strong, precise and exciting and the soloists in the next scene, Emma Fernee, Yasmine Amber and Daniel Lyas, bring a real joyousness to the stage. And how good it is to see a local lad up there – I think I’m right in saying that Lyas is the only man on the Adelaide Spanish dance scene, having come up through Studio Flamenco, he now also teaching there as well as performing. Like the others, he goes to Spain to hone his dance skills. It’s a bit of a puzzle that male dancers haven’t gone for the Spanish variety. It’s one of the most virile dance styles there is.

Yasmine Amber’s dance with a shawl is a highlight of this sequence, her lively personality seeming to inhabit the whirling, swirling movement. And the faces of the whole cast are now far more expressive than in the past.

A quieter scene follows. Emma Fernee, Melissa Walker and Satoko Kelty, dressed in white, each have a fan, which they manipulate both in solos and together as a trio. The words of the accompanying song are by Lorca: “The reflection/is what is real/The river/and the sky/are doors to take us/to the Eternal.”

Their performance is quiet, elegant, sometimes slow, even languid, the fans stirring the air. It forms a contrasting prelude to the finale. The dancers all reappear in colourful costumes, several are given solo spots, and they dance up a storm.

This carefully crafted program shows a new feeling of ensemble in Studio Flamenco, of the dancers being a company well supported by their singer and instrumentalists, rather than just a group of individuals led by Susi Masi and Emma Fernee.

Studio Flamenco’s Recuerdos performed as part of the Cabaret Fringe Festival at Nexus Arts on Friday, June 15

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