Peckham is a long way from Andalusia. But when Flamenco Express perform at the Bussey Building it’s like a passionate and piquant portion of southern Spain is miraculously delivered to south London. This Greenwich-based company is made up of dancer La Joaquina and guitarist Chris Clavo, both scintillating performers in their own right who are joined by a guest dancer and musician for each show.
The murky space of the CLF Theatre is embellished simply with a piece of flooring and four chairs, from which the dancers and singer beat out different rhythms with their hands as Clavo strikes up. The rippling dexterity of his playing is matched by La Joaquina’s chattering footwork, while the fierce carriage of the upper body and sudden hip-swaying sequences speak of both desire and disdain.
Alejandro Molinero, meanwhile, cuts a dash in red and his whirling dervish spins send beads of sweat into the audience (I’d hoped to catch a drop and absorb some fierceness. Alas, it did not happen and I walked away sweat-free and still English). Molinero’s also got the dynamic hooves of a dancing devil with which he beats out ever-more complex crystalline rhythms. Youthful guest singer Juan Debel is wonderful to hear, articulating the music’s Arabic cadences with soulful abandon. Unlike some of the splashy and slightly pretentious star-name shows at the Sadler’s festival flamenco last month, this performance is totally direct; it’s immediate, involving and completely beguiling.
To find out more about Flamenco Express, click here.