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Dance and Music Reviews : Morca Dance Theatre at Beckman Auditorium

Teodoro Morca brought what seemed incomparable power, grace and technique Friday to Beckman Auditorium at Caltech, where Morca Dance Theatre presented an evening of flamenco in concert. Take the dynamic contrasts of his writhing, strutting, percussive “Solea por Bulerias”, ornamented with glyphic arms and hands, and informed with his evident pride and joy in performing. Or “Cantina de Gracia,” with the rhythmic complexity of his soft and staccato riffs unaccompanied except by clapping hands, and his nailed-to-the-floor footwork flung into traveling steps that redefined space.

Morca’s farruca in the “Cuadro Flamenco” was dazzling in its command of space and in footwork that recalled the rhythmic intricacies of Indian kathak dancing.

His partnering of Isabel Morca, wife and co-director, breathed life into courtly cliches in “Cantina de Gracia,” “Ay, Ay, la Cana,” and “La Coqueteria.” He seemed to live only to admire her, and she only to be adored by him. A flamenco dancer lacking a fluid line and distinct personality, she contributed little more to the performance.

Not so Gerardo Alcala and Roberto Zamora. Alcala’s fluttering and sobbing “Solo de Guitarra” evoked the glaring light and deep shadows of southern Spain. Zamora’s chanting, wailing songs gave fluent voice to flamenco longing. The interplay between them, and the gradual unleashing of their reserve lent a sense of improvisation on familiar forms.

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