Evidently, no one has ever invented the elastic band or bobby pin that can contain the hair of flamenco dancers. Ballet dancers have no trouble in this area, but in flamenco, escaping tresses become a metaphor for letting emotions fly.
And fly they did--with only a few runaway hair combs--on Friday night at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, as Maria Bermudez and her company from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, unleashed an energetically ardent program called “Sonidos Gitanos” (Gypsy Sounds), co-produced by the Fountain Theatre.
Raised in California and now based in Spain, Bermudez has a style that is alternately trance-like and down and dirty, with flashes of intricately placed footwork and long, flexible hands that fold deeply, as if she’s always grasping for more. Like the flowers that won’t stay anchored to her hair, she breaks out of carefully arranged, decorative moves with an almost messy abandon.
The young dancers of her company did not match the fullness of Bermudez’s performance, but it was an appealingly high-spirited ensemble, mired only occasionally in unfortunate “pause-and-pose” choreography.
Jose de los Reyes had a jabbing style of footwork and fingers that snapped like castanets as his hands fluttered in descending arcs across his body. For Rosario, an incipient authority found most expression in playful hip swings and her flashing, wide smile.
A very thin, young Juan Tejero had an elegant flamenco form and wonderfully light, rebounding footwork but sometimes looked as if he was wearing a style of machismo just a few sizes too big for him. He was often upstaged by facial contortions that arrived so suddenly and severely they skirted the line between deeply felt pain and a temper tantrum.
Along with singers Pepe de la Joaquina, Martin Heredia and Ana de los Reyes, guitarists Antonio Jero and Diego Amaya accompanied expertly, leaning into their instruments with laid-back smiles and sensuality. In their one duet, Jero had the feathery touch of a harpist.
Also a big hit was Tomasito in a quirky song and dance that combined the smooth, angular isolations of Michael Jackson with a gangliness that made him look like a flamenco Dick Van Dyke. Such a pleasant confusion, it would have been nice to see more.