‘Fuego Flamenco’ Shows Emotional Spark

To light a fire, several things have to happen. You strike a match with a pinpointed energy that makes friction into flame, and soon, there can be heat that stops just short of burning you up. To light a flamenco concert, the elements are similar, and “Fuego Flamenco"--now at the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood (presented by the Fountain Theatre)--has them.

Dancer-artistic director Roberto Amaral has gathered a small cast of brilliant performers who combine technical gifts with deep inspiration to call forth a bonfire of thoughts and emotions. The tone is set by Amaral himself, whose well-designed solos spotlight his impressive footwork and elegant style without a trace of flamenco self-indulgence.

Throughout opening night Friday, the idea of being both fearful and fearless often came to mind--in the plaintive singing of Charo Monge, or very powerfully in the solos of La Conja, whose slowly accumulating fury escaped in tempestuously beautiful tossing and turning movement.

In “El Dron de Faraon,” La Conja combined forces with the divine Isa Mura, a singer whose rich intonations made you think of angels weeping. For her own solo, Mura interwove energies with the urgent, forceful guitar of Pedro Cortes, another master who can bring you into the moment with dazzlingly deployed virtuosity. His guitar solo, paced like a capriciously gathering storm, was complemented by Adam del Monte’s, which was built more like soft summer rain.


It might be hard to stand out among such luminaries, but not for Yaelisa, the most lean and flexible of flamenco dancers, who has a finely controlled, hyper-mobile style, like a kind of liquid obsidian. Her filigree fingers look double-jointed, and the plasticity of her arms and back make her look almost unearthly, except that her quivering footwork and keen gaze are so grounded. Another jewel in the flamenco crown that is Fuego Flamenco.

* “Fuego Flamenco,” Ivar Theatre, 1605 N. Ivar Ave., Hollywood, Friday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 7 p.m. $30-$25. (213) 663-1525.