Some measure of success can be assumed for a Flamenco program when the audience in the underground parking lot afterward cannot resist clapping wildly in furious rhythms and looking for all the world as if by drumming their heels into the pavement they could bring parked cars to life. The Saturday night performance of "Flamenco Talavera" at Curtis Theatre in Brea had that effect, even though technical difficulties occasionally interfered.
A primary pleasure of Flamenco is the sound of its complex, fickle rhythms as feet contact floor. When the dance surface is cardboard-like (actually coming apart at the seams), and it is not miked, while the singer and guitar are, percussive accents are lost. Fortunately, several sections of the mixed program occurred in silence, allowing the dancers to recapture their power.
Guest dancers Linda Andrade and Antonia Lopez had spirited moments, as did several of the company's regular members; Marcellina de Luna and Maruja Belmonte in the danced drama "Amor Gitano" come to mind, with their torrid lunges and arched postures of suspicion and desire. In general, the company is fine in footwork and the lace and steel movements of hands twisting on wrists, but often lacks the strong spines that support and coordinate Flamenco flourishes.
This does not apply, however, to Juan Talavera, whose riveting presence never failed to excite.
He knows how to create power with a burning focus, whether it's centered in the drama of his chiseled face, or somewhere in the length of his taut torso, or especially in the smoldering finesse with which he makes transitions, from cool to hot, from diminishing heel taps to rapid-fire circling of the stage.
Keeping pace with the dancers--and sometimes setting it with evocative flourishes--were singer Jesus Montoya and guitarist Benito Palacios. * "Flamenco Talavera" presents a mixed program, May 20 and 21 at 8:30 p.m., at Curtis Theatre, 1 Civic Center Drive, Brea. Guest guitarists are Antonio Triana and Rafael Aragon. Guest dancers Cintia Reyes and Gabriela Garza will join guests mentioned above. Tickets $19.50. Information: (714) 990-7722.