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London Duende

Posted on March 10, 2014


A visceral electronic heartbeat sets the mood as, within writhing mists at the back of the stage a single hand twists and turns as if capturing gossamer wings. The rest of the body emerges, as Ángel Muñoz dressed in black converses in dance with the electrical embodiment of jondo.

This is the show for those in the know. Most of the UK flamencos I know are attending. Ángel’s performance speaks of a maturity of skill that can’t be obtained without huge talent, discipline and intensity of purpose developed over years. So surprising was it to see him billed as “New Generation” that I asked him what he thought. Eyes sparkling, he said he’s happy for anyone to describe him as young.

Playing on the meaning of his name (ángel, meaning spirit, is used by flamencos to mean the same type of possession as duende), Ángel (pictured above) moves from dark to light whilst dancing a dialogue with his musicians. There’s no hubris here, or grandstanding, and the show works better for it. His moves have such masculine intensity that a lift of his arms makes my heart jump and his zapateo raise the hairs on the back of my neck.

Photograph: Carole Edrich

Nicola Rayner was editor of Dance Today from 2010 to 2015. She has written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and Time Out Buenos Aires, where she cut her teeth as a dance journalist working on the tango section. Today she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success. Her debut novel, The Girl Before You, was published last year in paperback, ebook and audiobook.

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