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A Touch of Greatness, Part 1 - Pasion Flamenca's "Tributes"

by Marian Horosko
October 19, 2008
Joyce Soho
155 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
212-431-9233
He walked on quietly, faced upstage and raised his arms like a great eagle ready for flight. Jorge Navarro, artistic director, choreographer/dancer and founder of the Pasión Flamenca company, displayed his touch of greatness and command from the moment he walked slowly to center stage. There is no doubt that it is the quiet moments like this that are the hardest to perform but define the artist.

The company of eight, performed October 16-19 at the Joyce SoHo Theater, in a program called Tributes, in perfectly choreographed, tastefully executed scenes of Spanish life performed by superb dancers, singers and musicians.

The first work, "The Last Drop of Water," began and remained against a screen projection of water drops on leaves and ground as the solo progressed. It was a tribute to flamenco artists who perished from AIDS. The water represented life's cycles: from water that all life began and through water that all life is lived.

Novarro breaks up his statements with a perfectly performed double tour, stops with precision and never consults the audience on his progress with a look or gesture. His erect stance, expressive hands and thunderous heelwork and ease hide a prodigious technique. He is self-contained, man as philosopher and poet. It was a performance that will remain in memory.

No less masterful was the solo by composer/guitarist Pedro Cortés in a tribute to his esteemed teacher, Sabicas. Coming from a family of Spanish gypsy guitarists, he has toured extensively with dance companies Maria Benitez and Lola Flores. As an author, he has written two books published by the American Institute of Guitar and is the music director of the Pasión company.

"Los Mineros," a tribute to miners of the world's oldest load, Rio Tinto, who worked as enslaved laborers under lethal conditions in the 1800s. Here, Navarro and Antonio Hidalgo, director of choreography took a tremendous subject and condensed it into a gem with imaginative sequences of miners riding on open rail cars into molten ore fumes polluted with ash and death via respiratory diseases and infections. The work, "Los Mineros" escaped pathos and remained a dignified, graphic choreographic tribute.

As a finale, the company set in Algrias, a Sevillan barrio's favorite tablao establishment, expressed the dance, music and song in a traditional scene. "Estampas Flamencas," choreographed by Hidalgo, and Navarro, was introduced by José Moreno, who looks like a big, young Buddha, but moves like a feather. The group was joined by singers Bárbara Martinez and Alfonso Cid. Dancer, Rebeca Tomás, who wore the traditional long train costume may have been the smallest in stature, but she was impressive as she swept the skirt around her legs showing skill in her strong interpretation.

Read "A Touch of Greatness, Part 2".
Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg


Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in 'The Last Drop of Water'

Pasion Flamenca's Jorge Navarro in "The Last Drop of Water"

Photo © & courtesy of Maly Blomberg

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