Studio Flamenco’s production...is like a multitude of tapas...each course is as sumptuous as the last and leaves the appreciative audience salivating for more. The music... is invigorating. The dancing is potent and artistic. Together, it is a whopping, gala of high-spirited flamenco in which the dancers’ fluidity and impeccable technique makes even the most challenging steps seem effortless
…passionate music, dramatic dancing, and haunting singing…together, these magnificent performers transported the audience to somewhere exotic
Peña Flamenca is small club in Andalusia where one sits with a drink and enjoys flamenco dance up close. Studio Flamenco’s choice of French style club La Boheme perfectly highlighted the distinctive spirit and character of Flamenco dance chosen for an evening to relax at a table with a beverage.Five dance forms and a song filled the hour. Dance styles from Extremeños, Galicia, Jerez and Cádiz are featured, some being solo pieces.Be it the exciting ensemble opening piece Tangos Extremeños, or solos such as Susi Masi’s Siguiriyas, filled with the darkness of unrequited love or Emma Fernee’s Farruca, a rich, fantastically intense ‘chair dance’ normally performed by a male, there isn’t really a sense the production’s tempo breaks as such, or has an ‘off’ switch to it anywhere.While obviously lost in their work, giving their all to faithfully serve a culture’s passion condensed so tightly in such rigorous, demanding forms of physical expression, the ensemble do not forget to have fun. There is great colour and joy in the production, first explosively expressed in the opening dance and reaffirmed in the closing piece, Fin de Fiesta (Bulerias), from burlar, meaning to mock or make fun of. Each dancer whips off a solo moment as form of physical jest about a pose or turn of the flamenco form. You could rightly call it ‘showing off’
What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening on a long weekend in winter. I’m talking about enjoying the intimacy of Soul Box in Adelaide for a Flamenco Cabaret. Presented by Studio Flamenco as part of the annual Cabaret Fringe Festival, the performance treated its audience to the full spectrum of flamenco forms of expression, including toque (guitar), cante (song) and baile (dance).There is potential for an evening of dance in one style to seem repetitive, but the work presented by Studio Flamenco was rich and varied. It opened with a duo by guitarist Kris Iwanuik and percussionist Adrian van Nunen, and proceeded through an escalating series of songs featuring the passionate vocals of Zoe Velez and the proud bearing of the four dancers, that so effectively channeled the spirit of the dance form. I particularly enjoyed the Jaleo (roughly translated – ‘hell-raising’) of the cast as they clapped, stomped their feet, and called to each other in exuberant enthusiasm. Singer Zoe Velez was particularly adept at this, and in fact, her zest and charisma added greatly to the authenticity of the evening.The energy of the performance ebbed and flowed. At times the gentle rain of the flamenco guitar flowed over the audience, at other times, the audience was vibrating in their chests from the rhythms of dancers’ feet and castanets. One of the most spectacular pieces of the evening featured three dancers, each with a different prop. I was mesmerised by the sweep of the shawl, which conjured images of a bird in flight, and fascinated with the insinuation of the fan (el abanico) which fluttered and snapped at high speed by dancer Sugika Nishiue, and hypnotized by the polyrhythms of the castanets.When Susi Masi opened the dance component of the evening, I was desperate to see what her feet were doing, but I was suitably captivated by the rhythms of her shoes and the beauty of her braceo – arm movements and positions, and the proud alignment of her torso.Flamenco Cabaret was a delightful glimpse into what it must be like in the gypsy barrios of Seville or Granada. Passionate, dramatic and highly entertaining
Zambra is a celebration of all things Flamenco! Presented by Adelaide’s own Studio Flamenco, it was two hours of incredible music, sensational dancing, cocktails and authentic Spanish songs from the powerhouse that is Zoe Veléz.I am a sucker for fasted-paced Spanish guitars, and the combination of guitarists Aloysius Lesson and Marduk Gault was everything I love: quick, emotive and sensual sounds which made me want to jump up on stage and give the whole thing a red-hot go.Dancers Emma Fernee, Sarah James, Junko Kuwahara, Cathy Miller and Satoko Tomimori-Kelty were excellent, commanding the stage with invigorating, charming and enthusiastic routines. Susi Masi was the standout of the evening for me, demanding attention, and making complex and lengthy routines look effortless and fluid.The entire evening was a joy, and it was a pleasure to talk to the other attendees on the night and to see how happy and excited everyone was at intermission, and how invigorated and energised they were at the conclusion. All in all, it was a fabulous way to spend a Saturday night
La Boheme is transformed into a Peña Flamenca ; an Andalusian club where traditional flamenco can be experienced in an intimate setting. The evening presented by Adelaide-based Studio Flamenco kicks off with a four count beat tangos full of vitality and passion featuring all five dancers. The audience is then led through a gamut of emotions including sorrow, joy, love and humour via a variety of dance and song styles ; tangos, siguiriyas, alegrias, rumba, farruca and bulerias. The solo and group dance routines are highly expressive passionate renditions, innovative as well as traditional. The evening is completed by an exuberant bulerias, the traditional fin de fiesta.The unique qualities and personality of each of the performers is drawn out by the expressive nature of flamenco. The captivating singer, Zoe Velez, has travelled from Sydney to be part of the show and also provides a wonderful cameo dance performance.With excellent guitar accompaniment throughout by Aloysius Leeson and Marduk Gault , Peña Flamenca is a very accomplished and enjoyable experience. Recommended for lovers of flamenco and also for those who have never had the pleasure of experiencing this form live. 4.5 STARS
Slightly left of centre and ‘contemporary’ (Studio Flamenco’s) approach to Flamenco may be to some, nonetheless (their) work is unmistakably respectful of the tradition and serious cultural, technical gravitas underscoring the deep emotion this dance form expresses. This superb balance is best demonstrated in a favourite piece of mine, Tangos por Fiesta... One can never get enough of this fascinating work which is based around seated dancers.A subtle through line was established across the two halves of the production, with an emphasis on building individual dances gently up to a stirring crescendo of technique and passion, and ultimately, a breath taking finale for each half of the show. Siguiriyas, sweetly built up in two sections exploded into Tangos por Fiesta in part one. Fandangos and Solea por Buleria did much the same in part two, leading into Bulerias por fiesta . With its measured increase in pace, criss crossing of dancers on the floor and heightened intensity, Bulerias por Fiesta blew the audience away in a passionate fire storm of dance. More of that please!
Given Studio Flamenco’s reputation for exploring and mixing modern and traditional forms of Flamenco, Gómez’s approach fitted perfectly with them in a night in which the tempo was carefully racked up and eased back by the wonderful voice of Mari Olivares along with the rich and pliant guitars of Aloysius Leeson, Florian and rich tempo of percussionist Adrian van Nunen.To see Studio Flamenco Company of Emma Fernée, Susi Masi and Sugika Nishiue dance, then Gómez solo is a revelation. Gomez’s ‘Soleá’ offered an unbelievable vision of classical ballet fused with flamenco. To see Gómez’s upper body giving expression to classical ballet technique as the footwork offers all that’s expected of traditional Flamenco is extraordinary in comparison to the tightly structured formal technique of Flamenco found in the beautiful beginning to evening, ‘Guajiras’ in which the rise, open, close and flow of the fan dictates the dance, or the cut and thrust of ‘Tango’s which closed the first half of the evening. Gómez’s richly smooth, textured sense of Flamenco, without compromising any of the edgy passion so deeply infused in Flamenco when she dances solo or with the company did not disappoint a greatly appreciative audience
How striking it is to take in Spanish Guest artist Paloma Gómez’s rendition of the flamenco form in a night of dance named after her. Gómez’s career heavily features the influence of classical ballet, having been trained by José Antonio, Director of Ballet Nacional de España; she danced with that company and also with Nuevo Ballet Español.The music, a mixture of guitar, cajon and hand clapping percussion, and singing, is invigorating. The dancing is potent and artistic. Together, it is a whopping, gala of high-spirited flamenco in which the... dancers’ fluidity and impeccable technique makes even the most challenging steps seem effortless
The vividly talented La Chica challenged, charmed and flirted with the audience from her first entrance, and she had an intensely concentrated duet with her husband, percussionist Andrej Vujicic ...(with) his explosive rhythms and unbelievably fast fingers rippling and thumping on his cajón... There seemed to be a magnetic field connecting them, her astounding fusillade of footwork, from a whisper to a roar, responding to, sometimes seeming to call up, the varying riffs from his simple wooden crate...– their duet, for me, the most exciting part of an exciting evening, showed us how contemporary flamenco is developing; classical steps used with an expressive freedom that is nevertheless just as demanding as traditional forms.They were brought to Adelaide to teach and perform by sisters Emma Fernée and Susi Masi... the sisters sharp, accomplished and vivacious…But music is the soul of Flamenco, and along with Vujicic, local guitarists Aloysius Leeson and Florian were at the heart of things, with percussionist Adrian van Nunen on a second cajón, and singers Mari Olivares and Pablo Fernandez, a charismatic fellow from Cadiz, recently arrived in Sydney...Much care had gone into the arrangement of the well-balanced repertoire for the evening, and the costumes were first class – colourful and well made. I was with a couple of friends, one having his first flamenco experience, and he was bowled over by it... it was a night for plenty of olés and applause. I’m looking forward to the next one
… what flamenco can be as much as what it has always been…[Studio Flamenco] makes concrete the connection between modern and traditional flamenco forms
I greatly enjoyed Studio Flamenco’s show, Soniquete, a word which applied to dancers, means ‘in the groove’. The (five) dancers, (four) from the group’s Goodwood studio and one from Spain, certainly had no trouble finding their groove. It was an exhilarating evening of colour, precision and stimulating rhythms. The music came from two Brisbane guitarists, Kris Iwanuik and Cameron Ford, a young impassioned Flamenco singer from Sydney, Zoe Velez, and Serbian percussionist Andrej Vujicic on the cajón….In a striking black and white dress, Emma Fernée gave us a dramatic narrative of sadness, perhaps grief, in a Tarantos, her foot stamping clear and precise, her facial expression eloquent. The whole piece had a statuesque quality which provided a vital contrast to the more joyous gaiety of the rest of the program.The second half had attractive solos from Sugika Nishiue with a white fan and Susi Masi with a skilfully manipulated fringed shawl, and they were joined by Emma Fernée in an elegant trio... The audience appreciated their synchronized precision. I’m looking forward to the next Studio Flamenco program
The 12th of August marked the last night of 2012’s Adelaide International Guitar Festival, it also marked the only night to witness the Spirit of Flamenco at the Adelaide Festival Centre...(N)ot every take on flamenco is going to be the same and with acts from Australia and the USA being showcased, I’m looking forward to the contrast.Proceeding in to the Festival Theatre, the audience is greeted by a dimly lit stage with 4 wooden chairs at its centre. As the first act appears I notice there is only one guitarist, which goes against the grain of a traditional flamenco show. For this reason, Adelaide’s own Florian Remus has been provided with a great amount of responsibility... (T)onight Remus is subject to the opinion of roughly 1200 people. Despite the fact that the performance could have done with more sound, the positive of having one guitarist was that it was an opportunity to showcase Remus’ talent. He captured the intricacy of the Spanish guitar flawlessly and the audience loved him, that is if multiple standing ovations are something to go by...Visually, the show was well done with the flamenco dancers situated at the front of the stage and the musicians behind. Forty five minutes in, the performers up the tempo bringing the first half of the night to an end.The performance ends with a collaboration of guitar work, vocals and flamenco by those in both the first and second acts of the night. The guitarists were obviously the highlights of the show and their fellow performers complimented them well.The Spirit of Flamenco channeled the sounds of the Gitano perfectly... 4.5 STARS
Review of ‘Ole! Flamenco Fun for Kids’A magical flamenco fairy had little boys and girls captivated from the moment she whirled onto the stage at La Petite Grande on Sunday. Farida (Zoe Velez) is the star of this fun, interactive adventure into the history and music of Spain’s famous dance. Bringing together beautiful songs, raw emotion and plenty of foot stamping and hand clapping, this former Spanish Wiggle and dancers from Adelaide’s own Studio Flamenco transport the audience to the streets of Seville. Their engagement with the kids is genuine, their energy infectious. I know there’s at least one little flamenco fan still working on her moves at home.
Photography on this website is provided by Matt Walker, Sophie Abbott, JKFoto, Soda Street Productions and Will Carter