With an astoundingly rapid click of her sparkling heels, Siudy Garrido and her troupe of artists transported the Lobero Theater’s appreciative audience to an exotic world of Spanish artistry far away from home. Unlike Dorothy’s escalating journey to maturity in the Wizard of Oz, Garrido takes authoritative command from the moment she steps on the stage. The opening moments of the seguirilla make it crystal clear that this is a woman who knows her own power, and uses it to make a dramatic solo entrance that showcases both her strength and emotion; then amps things up even higher as the company’s four musicians and six additional dancers slowly enter the production.
Known for her collaborations with Gustavo Dudamel, Cirque du Soleil, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as Flamenco stars Farruquito and Antonio Canales, dancer, choreographer and artistic director Siudy Garrido and her Siudy Garrido Flamenco Company definitely delivered on the promise of a modern take on Flamenco dance that does justice to its traditional roots.
Musical Director, Composer, and Spanish Guitarist José Luis de la Paz — another extraordinarily charismatic presence — had a solo rondeña that garnered enthusiastic rounds of olé from the audience. And singers Rafael de Utrera and Manuel Gago, as well as Diego Álvarez on percussion, kept the music in fine form for the evening. Garrido’s saucy guajira added some Cuban spice to the mix, followed by Alegrías featuring the entire company of dancers in shimmering black fringe, creating snappy shapes with chairs as props, which brought Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz to mind.
The power, control, musicality and athleticism of these dancers was on full display throughout the night. Particularly with Garrido’s soleá, a powerful performance that brought the appreciative audience to its feet for a thundering standing ovation. Though Santa Barbara enthusiasts are quite familiar with Flamenco thanks to the traditions of Old Spanish Days, the intensity, fervor and nods to contemporary dance techniques — along with the sheer command of Garrido’s star power — made Flamenco Intimo an exciting and innovative show from start to finish.