Review | Farruquito’s Fascinating, Powerful Evening

Spanish Flamenco Extraordinary Spirit of Masculine Display

Photo: Matthew BledsoeFarruquito

Flamenco transcends the dance form by gathering multiple elements — guitar, percussion, dance, and song — into a composite art that exceeds the boundaries of even very broad definitions. This fascinating, powerful evening put eight performers on stage together in a dynamic series of shifting tableau.

At the core of the presentation, which included three singers, a guitarist, a flute player, and two other dancers, stood the principal figure of Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya, a k a “Farruquito,” the protagonist. While he held everyone’s attention with his bold, muscular style and frequent costume changes, the ensemble nevertheless met Farruquito on equal terms, even when he was dancing on a table. Each of the three singers — Ezequiel Montoya Jimenez “El Chanito,” with his high, keening tone, the forceful “cantaora” María Mezcle, and Mari Vizarraga — achieved moments of intense connection with the dancers, revealing the degree to which flamenco enacts a living dialogue between the naked voice and the active body. 

The musicians — Yerai Cortés on guitar, Juan Fernández Gálvez “Juan Parilla” on flute, and the dancer/percussionist Antonio Moreno Fernández “Polito” — crafted a seamless blend of sounds that brought cries of delight from dancers and audience alike. Featured dancer Gema Moneo received some of the night’s most enthusiastic applause for her solo spots. Ultimately, thanks to the program’s balanced and intuitive structure, one felt as though Farruquito earned his place at the center by summoning the archaic spirit of this extraordinary form of masculine display. 

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