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El Puente Flamenco

October 4, 2013

Reviewed October 4, 2013

NAC Fourth Stage, Ottawa

José Luis Pérez

José Luis Pérez

I’m a tough critic when it comes to flamenco – it’s the dance to which I was first introduced during my forays into the heart of Franco’s Spain. The real deal, danced on the rough-hewn tables in ragged tablaos behind the grand square of Madrid.

And I was enormously excited to witness the pure performance of this unique style of art at the National Arts Centre’s intimate Fourth Stage Friday night.

El Puente Flamenco – puente meaning bridge – is a group of flamenco musicians and dancers from Montreal and Ottawa who present the unbridled passion and pride that is the historic Andalusian-born flamenco with a focused and inviting gusto.

Montreal flamenco singer José Luis Pérez, born and trained in Spain, shares his doleful laments with heat and intensity. Hot off recording his first album, Como Nieva, this talented, sleek singer unleashes the pain, the passion and the romance of the exotic gypsy folk music that originates from his native province. He is accompanied by the young and extraordinary mop-haired guitarist Philippe Jean, master percussionist Eric Breton – a creative genius of rhythm to be sure – and dynamic flamenco dancers, Montreal bailaora Katherine Oliveri and Ottawa dancer Juliana Pulford, both who have studied with Spanish maestras.

Oliveri and Pulford each embody the art of flamenco dance with individual style that is captivating, unfurling sensuality with their tightly curled fingers, the controlled sway of their hips, the insistent percussion of their feet. Sometimes solo, sometimes “in response” to one another, the pair are breathtaking to behold.

Enough cannot be said about Breton, whose extended percussive solo Friday entranced the entire venue. I believe every bone in his body is born of rhythm.

While presented under the guise of community entertainment, El Puente Flamenco shows are a must-see to get your blood pumping, your heart racing, and your soul soaring.


From → Folk

One Comment
  1. Thank you so much for having us Ottawa! It was a pleasure to share this passion with you all. Hope to see you very soon! Besos. José Luis

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