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Flamenco Festival London 2019 - Sadler's Wells

Flamenco Festival

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

IN ITS 16th year, celebrating the diversity and dynamism of flamenco, Sadler’s Wells’ renowned annual Flamenco Festival returns from Tuesday, July 2 to Sunday, July 14 for a fortnight of unique dance shows featuring some of the world’s finest flamenco dancers and musicians.

Revolutionary dancer and flamenco legend Sara Baras returns to Sadler’s Wells to open this year’s festival with Sombras (Shadows). Celebrating the 20th anniversary of her company, Sombras draws on the dance form that has woven through her career, La Farruca. Renowned for its dramatic fast-footwork usually revered for men, Sara Baras dances La Farruca alongside six dancers to claim the dance form as her own.

On Saturday, July 6, acclaimed Iraqi-American musician Amir ElSaffar brings together an ensemble of flamenco including vocalist Gema Caballero, dancer Vanesa Aibar, percussionist Pablo Martin Jones and mastermind electronic musician Lorenzo Bianchi Hoesch. Using elegant, melodic arabesques to connect traditions, this special line up merges east and west into a unique evening of soulful dance and music.

Flamenco singer Miguel Poveda, returns in his first show at Sadler’s Wells since 2014 with his latest work Recital de Cante on Monday, July 8. Poveda takes the audience on a tour of the traditional musical forms of flamenco, from the cantinas of Cadiz to the demanding la soleá repertoire, while sharing his personal connection to the music with a spontaneity that ensures a completely unique performance.

On Tuesday, July 9, Rocío Molina presents her latest show Fallen From Heaven. Molina shakes up the traditional guitar, cajón and clapping hands combination with a drum kit and electric guitar which draws on both male and animalistic movement to explore gender, sex and flamenco itself.

Bringing together three exceptional artists who have been prominent in breaking barriers in music: pianist Dorantes known as ‘the jewel of the flamenco piano’, double bass phenomenon and multi- instrumentalist, Adam Ben Ezra, and master of tenor and soprano saxophones who tours with the Rolling Stones, Tim Ries, together present Flamenco Meets Jazz on Tuesday, July 10.

Olga Pericet, known for creating a world full of evocative imagery through a combination of theatre and dance presents The Thorn That Dreamed of Being a Flower or The Flower That Dreamed of Being a Dancer on Thursday, July 11. Pericet won the Spanish National Dance Prize in 2018.

From Friday, July 12 to Saturday, July 13, Sadler’s Wells welcomes the annual Gala Flamenca, showcasing the very best in flamenco. Manuel Liñan returns as director and this year’s line-up features dancers Mercedes Ruiz, Eduardo Guerrero and María Moreno. They are also joined on stage by singer María Terremoto – the youngest ever recipient of the Giraldillo award for new artist at the Seville Flamenco Biennial.

Closing the festival on Sunday, July 14 is Patricia Guerrero with Catedral. Joining her on stage are three dancers, a guitarist, two percussionists, two opera singers and a flamenco singer. The rising star steps into a shadowy world of repression and sacrifice as she draws on the binding constraints of religion and society. Catedral won her the Critics’ Choice Award for Best Performance at Seville’s Bienal de Flamenco.

Patricia Guerrero’s piece, Proceso Eterno, can also be seen on Friday, February 8 and Saturday, February 9 at Sadler’s Wells Sampled.

Tickets: £15 – £55. To book, call the ticket office on 020 7863 8000 or visit www.sadlerswells.com/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7:30pm, with Saturday matinees at 3:30pm and Sunday matinees at 4pm.