Ironically on the day the sun deserted Manchester to be replaced rain Jaleo Flamenco danced into town with all the vibrancy and colour you’d expect from this fascinating form of dance.
The shows website describes Jaleo Flamenco as a potent cocktail of explosive footwork, haunting singing, virtuoso guitar playing and percussive handclapping from southern Spain with some of flamenco’s finest award-winning artists.
The show opens with a skilled percussive piece using just walking sticks and the floor to create a beat for Adolfo Vega to begin mesmerising the disappointingly small but enthusiastic audience with wonderful footwork.
What followed was an immersive evening of exquisite dance and captivating music. The latter played by guitarists El Inglés and Carlos Ayala who play incredibly complex pieces for almost the entire duration of the performance with not a sheet of music in sight. As an audience member you find your gaze being drawn to them as well as the dancing before you.
Ma Jose Leon and Ana Ma Blanco complete the Flamenco line up and are both as passionate as each other for their artistry. Leon also performs vocals during the evening along with Juan Reina whose hand clapping percussion proves to be almost hypnotic.
Flamenco is a difficult genre of dance to master but those on stage tonight prove why this company is award winning. From the first section, Soniquete through to the finale of Fin de Fiesta you are taken on a journey through dance and become captivated with its beauty.
In a night of dance, the highlight for me was a stunning guitar solo in the second half from El Inglés who sat centre stage strumming the guitar as if it was an extension of his own arm, one of the best musical performance I have seen in a very long time.
A bare stage with subtle lighting is all this production requires, however the choice to mount speakers on the front of the stage seemed a strange decision, as they at times blocked out the view of the dancers feet to the audience in the stalls.
Vibrant costumes bringing the colours of Spain to Manchester are the final flourish this show needs although, the dancing shines brighter than any costume.
Reviewer: Paul Downham
Reviewed: 17th June 2015