Pasa Re­views

Emi Arte Fla­menco

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - — Michael Wade Simp­son

EmiArteFla­menco Sky­light, June 28

Lo­cal dancer Emmy Grimm, known pro­fes­sion­ally as “La Emi,” has grown up in front of fla­menco au­di­ences in Santa Fe. A stu­dent of María Benítez’s from age four, she per­formed with Benítez’s Fla­menco’s Next Gen­er­a­tion, and then gained fur­ther ex­pe­ri­ence with Juan Siddi, An­to­nio Gran­jero, and oth­ers dur­ing sum­mer sea­sons at The Lodge, among other venues. Grimm trav­eled to Spain to con­tinue her stud­ies — a rite of pas­sage for se­ri­ous fla­menco dancers — where Carmela Greco, the daugh­ter of the le­gendary dancer José Greco, and a well-known dancer and teacher her­self, was her host and men­tor in Madrid. Greco joined La Emi on­stage on June 28 for the first of a se­ries of per­for­mances by EmiArteFla­menco at Sky­light. It was an in­ter­est­ing op­por­tu­nity to ob­serve the ef­fects of artis­tic lin­eage — so val­ued in fla­menco.

The cast also in­cluded Vi­cente Griego, the pow­er­ful singer who is Grimm’s god­fa­ther and co-pro­ducer of the event, the dancer Ne­varez Encinias, rep­re­sent­ing the youngest gen­er­a­tion of the Encinias clan in Al­bu­querque (his grand­mother, Eva Encini­asSan­doval, es­tab­lished the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Fla­menco), An­to­nio Gabarri Jiménez, Greco’s long­time gui­tarist from Madrid, Joshua Vigil, a lo­cal gui­tarist, and the Fla­menco Youth de Santa Fe, the youth com­pany of EmiArteFla­menco. It was an evening of strong danc­ing with more smiles than gri­maces — there was a sense of joy dom­i­nat­ing the angst that is of­ten on dis­play in fla­menco.

La Emi per­formed a re­worked ver­sion of the gua­jira ,a Cuban-in­flu­enced dance that gave her the op­por­tu­nity to em­ploy a fan, cas­tanets, and a red dress with a long

cola or train. She eas­ily ma­neu­vered all these props, mak­ing them part of her en­cir­cling chore­og­ra­phy. It seems right that she should wait a few years be­fore of­fer­ing the in­tense and dark dances that Benítez and Greco are known for. In the years La Emi has been per­form­ing the solo Gua­jira, her at­tack seemed clearer and her tech­nique more ex­act than be­fore. La Emi had a fem­i­nine, sen­sual pres­ence, and the grace­ful use of her back and arms was almost bal­letic.

Greco, who stayed on stage as­sist­ing with pal­mas (per­cus­sive clap­ping, a tra­di­tional ac­com­pa­ni­ment to the mu­sic) while La Emi was per­form­ing, clearly has great af­fec­tion for her pro­tégé. The ex­pres­sion on her face was moth­erly and proud. Greco’s solo,

Taranto, had an earthy power. In an in­ter­view, she ex­plained that the taranto is a form orig­i­nally danced un­der­ground, in mines, and for her, has the pro­fun­dity of deeply rooted trees. Fla­menco is one of the few dance forms where age is revered. With her loose sil­ver mane, which she whipped around the stage, Greco was a tes­ta­ment to a life lived through this pow­er­ful art. Part­ner­ing La Emi in the Tan­gos and danc­ing his own up­beat solo, the Ale­grías, Ne­varez Encinias was pulled up like a mata­dor, dis­play­ing youth­ful bravado and im­pres­sive foot­work. Vin­cente Griego’s vo­cals were gut-wrench­ing and emo­tional as al­ways. An­to­nio Gabarri Jiménez and Joshua Vigil pro­vided low-key, non­flashy work on the gui­tar.

EmiArteFla­menco of­fers Santa Fe a taste of the kind of close-knit, multi­gen­er­a­tional com­pany that afi­ciona­dos of fla­menco hunt for in Spain.

EmiArteFla­menco and the Fla­menco Youth de Santa Fe per­form at Span­ish Mar­ket on July 29. EmiArteFla­menco re­turns to Sky­light on Aug. 11 and Sept. 22. For a com­plete list of events, visit www.emiartefla­menco.com.

Ne­varez Encinias and La Emi; photo Mor­gan Smith

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