Spain’s Nuevo Ballet Español and Miami’s CircX come from opposite sides of the Atlantic and the theatrical dance spectrum. But as they showed in weekend performances, they share a taste for irony and a sense that dance isn’t something you offer straight up.
The full house for Nuevo Ballet Español’s Cambio de Tercio at Miami-Dade County Auditorium Friday night attested to the popularity of flamenco in Miami and made for an energetic launch to the Miami Dade College Live Arts series. The show, conceived by troupe directors and stars Angel Rojas and Carlos Rodriguez, was sleek, smart and dynamic. If it didn’t attain the power and profundity of the best flamenco, it was still terrifically entertaining.
Tercio is meant, in part, to deconstruct flamenco conventions, but the more self-conscious elements, such as dancers changing costumes behind an upstage scrim, seemed more decorative than innovative.
The performance often had a tongue-in-cheek feeling, making it difficult to differentiate deliberately ironic segments — such as a parody of commercialized ’60s flamenco, with Rodriguez and the four female dancers grimacing in absurdly flamboyant costumes — from those meant to be taken seriously. (Vicente Soler’s extravagant costumes were a strong, if occasionally over the top, element).
But much of Tercio was richly satisfying. The dancers, instrumentalists and charismatic female singers are all highly accomplished, and the two leaders are superb performers. Rojas was mesmerizing in a solo of the precise rhythmic footwork known as zapateo, combining fierce power with astonishingly subtle rhythm and control, with one heel tapping complex counterpoint to the other at blistering speed. Rodriguez reacted with comic fluidity and a silky whirlwind of turns as singers Rocio Bazan and Davinia Jaen playfully rattled off a tanguillas, an improvised vocal style that sounds like flamenco rap, about an endless choice of desirable men.
Diana Lozano’s innovative burlesque troupe CircX celebrated 10 years of neon-feathered sexual and showbiz satire at the Fillmore Miami Beach Saturday night. MC Octavio Campos, resplendent in skintight black and white, commanded a dizzying array of Miami talent in everything from wild pop video satires to edgy performance art.
Highlights included Ana Mendez as the impish Lemon, a lasciviously capering id in a yellow unitard; Lozano leading an orgiastic tribute to Van Halen’s Hot for Teacher; Natasha Tsakos and Luckner Bruno’s comic and acrobatic chemistry in an Apache dance and other classic cabaret routines, and an excerpt from a Luis Cuevas’ performance piece for four women hysterically tottering on towering high heels.
Rudi Goblen hosted the hilarious “What Would You Do For a Drink Ticket,” with audience volunteers contorting themselves in absurdities such as “Monster Striptease.” Miami Theater Center director Stephanie Ansin and a 68-year old woman named Angela rocked the house with their unexpectedly sensual way with a cream-filled Twinkie.
Many CircX performers boast conservatory training and serious credits, and part of the fun was watching standout members of Miami’s performing arts scene such as Cuevas, Goblen, Mendez and Tsakos cut loose. This may be the last time that Rosie Herrera, a fast-rising choreographer, will be twisting her bikinied behind in a music video parody.
At three hours, the show needed editing, and numbers that might stand out in a club or corporate event don’t have the same edge onstage. But CircX definitely succeeds as a celebration of Miami talent, energy and style.