Bailaor Flamenco Jesús Carmona

NEW YORK TIMES

The evening’s most exciting male dancer was Jesús Carmona. We saw him first in silhouette in the evening’s opening Cantes, when it was fascinating to see how just his stance (a taut arc) and the brilliant incisiveness of his footwork raised the evening’s tension within a second or two. And he can stand still, with his face turned upward and his arms held in lines descending from the shoulders, and slowly circle his hands to marvelous effect; it’s less the hands than the strong stillness of the rest of the body that makes so fine an impression. In the dance duet “TrillA7,” performed with Lucia Campillo, every phrase he delivered was an event.

Still, there’s something steely about his stylishness. When he returned for his big Alegrías solo later in the evening, he sat on a chair for a silent eternity before moving — finally starting only after some polite clapping from the audience. And what followed was punctuated with all too many bright smiles at us: smiles that did not seek to ingratiate but that broadcast an awareness of triumph.

Certainly he made his Alegrías wonderfully brisk. Just the rapacious way he strides across stage space is terrific, the fast-slicing percussiveness of his feet is brilliant, and the glamorously alert lines and shapes he made throughout the body were almost as radiant as his smiles. But neither as musicianship nor as drama is this great flamenco

The evening’s most exciting male dancer was Jesús Carmona. We saw him first in silhouette in the evening’s opening Cantes, when it was fascinating to see how just his stance (a taut arc) and the brilliant incisiveness of his footwork raised the evening’s tension within a second or two. And he can stand still, with his face turned upward and his arms held in lines descending from the shoulders, and slowly circle his hands to marvelous effect; it’s less the hands than the strong stillness of the rest of the body that makes so fine an impression. In the dance duet “TrillA7,” performed with Lucia Campillo, every phrase he delivered was an event.

Still, there’s something steely about his stylishness. When he returned for his big Alegrías solo later in the evening, he sat on a chair for a silent eternity before moving — finally starting only after some polite clapping from the audience. And what followed was punctuated with all too many bright smiles at us: smiles that did not seek to ingratiate but that broadcast an awareness of triumph.

Certainly he made his Alegrías wonderfully brisk. Just the rapacious way he strides across stage space is terrific, the fast-slicing percussiveness of his feet is brilliant, and the glamorously alert lines and shapes he made throughout the body were almost as radiant as his smiles. But neither as musicianship nor as drama is this great flamenco.

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