Marco Flores and Olga Pericet – Paso a Dos – London

Marco Flores and Olga Pericet in <I>Paso a Dos</I>.<br />© Paco Villalta. (Click image for larger version)
Marco Flores and Olga Pericet in Paso a Dos.
© Paco Villalta. (Click image for larger version)

Marco Flores and Olga Pericet
Paso a Dos

London, Sadler’s Wells
27 February 2016

Cadiz-born Marco Flores and cordobesa Olga Pericet make a striking flamenco couple – he is tall and lanky, with sedate, flowing movements; she’s tiny, barely reaching his chin, and bristling with energy. But, having worked as partners for many years, they have developed a startling synchronicity, which means they can mirror each other beautifully and to charming effect.

Paso a Dos (or ‘pas de deux’) is an opportunity for the couple to explore different permutations of partner work in flamenco, accompanied by two guitarists and four singers (who test your upper tolerance level for melismatic singing). Early on, a spot-lit zapateo face-off provides an exhilarating display of Flores and Pericet’s lightning footwork; a more playful fandango section has Pericet demonstrating her castanet skills and pulling some decidedly un-flamenco-like moves, and the pair ending proceedings with a kiss.

In fact, despite the show’s name, it’s the dancers’ solo moments that are most revelatory. Pericet emerges in a sumptuous red bata de cola dress, glittering with sequins, and works with the four singers surrounding her. You can’t take your eyes off her: she’s imperious and full of passion, clearly drawing energy from the vocals and showing off supreme command of bata de cola technique.

Putting Flores on his own in the spotlight reveals what has seemed naggingly distinct about his approach: he has a feminine energy to the way he moves, and in this solo, his curling hands, sinuous arms and gentle hip flicks are all things you’d associate more readily with a woman’s performance. It’s an arresting visual image, and Flores’s technical ability is flawless, but for some reason, you can’t help feeling that it is more on the surface than heartfelt.

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