Flamenco with a flourish

José Porcel closes Hot Dance with Arte, a tapestry of his award-winning shows.

Spanish dancer and choreographer José Porcel (photo credit: Courtesy)
Spanish dancer and choreographer José Porcel
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The High Holy Day season is here, meaning that even though the days are still hot, the summer is officially coming to a close. As schoolchildren dust off their backpacks and lifeguards scale back their work hours, the Suzanne Dellal Center will say goodbye for now to the annual Hot Dance Festival. For the past two months, Hot Dance has filled the three theaters of the center with dance performances of all genres, from ballet to African dance.
This year, Spanish dancer and choreographer José Porcel and his acclaimed ensemble will give the festival’s closing performances.
This is Porcel’s second visit to Israel. He and his troupe were presented in Israel in 2011 as part of the World Dance Festival. For this visit, Porcel will reveal his newest production, Arte. The show is a special production that Porcel reserves for touring. In Arte, scenes from his award-winning shows are woven together into a type of “best hits” performance. Six musicians, including one singer and two female dancers, will join him on stage.
Born and raised in Seville, Spain, Porcel grew up with the beats and rhythms of flamenco music. From an early age, he studied classical flamenco and went on to dance as a soloist with a long list of companies, including Ballet de Valencia and the National Ballet of Spain. He was a soloist in the company of Antonio Marquez, whose star-studded troupe will also perform in Israel this season.
Porcel is not only one of the most renowned performers in Spain, but he is also an admitted flamenco purist. In the printed program of each performance, he includes a paragraph about the history and origins of flamenco song and dance.
“A flamenco performance gives the spectator an overwhelming sensation of happiness, a joyful and sensual mood that no other form of dance is capable of evoking because flamenco is an explosion of rhythms, colors and emotions that contain all the vitality, sunniness and passion of the Spanish people. It is a folkloric celebration where, even when theater art is being created, irresistible erotic appeal and irrepressible energy remain intact,” writes Porcel of the form. “The origins of flamenco are still uncertain, and they have been lost through the centuries in a tangled web of influences and contributions from various civilizations.”
It is perhaps the quest to discover the essence of flamenco that propels Porcel to investigate it over and again.
To see Porcel on stage is to behold a person in the grip of passion. With his long limbs and masterful movements, Porcel brings unbridled energy to every performance. His charisma is matched by dazzling technique. It is thanks to these virtues that Porcel has been invited to perform around the world as both a soloist in major productions and as artistic director of his own company.
For audience members who attended Porcel’s last performance in Israel, Arte offers a new world of color, rhythm and music.
Arte will be performed September 9 to 12 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.