Dance Review: Antonio Gades Company

In Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre), Gades’s unique sophistication sets him apart from many of his contemporaries.

Antonio Gades 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Antonio Gades 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Spanish choreographer Antonio Gades gained world fame following his collaborations with Carlos Saura, film director the stunning success - Carmen. It was actually their second project together, after having teamed up for the film Blood Wedding (Bodas de Sangre).
Seven years past his untimely death, the Gades company now returns with two programs with his most important works; the full evening work Carmen and Blood Wedding, along with Suite Flamenca, a more traditional flamenco arrangement accompanied by five musicians.
Watching his company again, with its handpicked dancers and an ensemble in top shape, proves once more that Spanish dance had lost a great of its most original minds.
Blood Wedding, choreographed in 1974, is one of the most powerful and intense dance-dramas ever made in its genre. Even after so many years, Gades’s brilliance shines through. With the help of a brilliant cast, the work is as tight as a poem, bursting with the widest range of emotions and passions but avoids traps like the banality and stylistic clichés associated with so many flamenco dances that cater to international audiences.
The story of Blood Wedding offers theatrical movement analysis of the renowned play by Federico Garcia Lorca. On the night of her prearranged wedding, the bride elopes with her true love. The enraged husband follows the couple on his horse, joined by his mates.
Joaquin Mulero as the husband and Angel Gil as the lover, each bearing a sword, performed one of the longest, most forceful death scenes ever performed on a dance stage. The scene is done in extreme slow motion in complete silence until both drop dead. It took a few seconds before we heard the faint rhythmic, shivering sound of palms clapping and heels clicking, which got stronger and closer, like rolling thunder.
Gades’s unique sophistication sets him apart from many of his contemporaries. His restrained touch – when needed – and appreciation of understated nuances enabled him to portray in depth the journey of the human soul – bare, honest and vibrant.
His Suite Flamenca, with the brilliant Stella Arauzo and Miguel Lara in the lead and backed by the whole company, elicited a well-deserved standing ovation.