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London Duende

Posted on March 14, 2014

Always a safe bet, the Gala attracts those who love flamenco but are hedging their bets, and aficionados who are attracted to the people performing. This year the calibre and variety of styles of dancers and musicians was well balanced. Each performer shared their joy in flamenco, creating a sunny seamless whole.

Laura Rozalén‘s impressive hand movements inspired me to practise more at home. Olga Pericet’s expertise with the twirling manton was particularly impressive when she danced close to others. Marco Flores’ stance, clear zapateo and humour were a joy, but Mercedes Ruiz made my evening. She was huge on the stage, her dance brought the cliché “on fire” to life, every atom of her twisting body was a statement of elegant strength while her moves spoke of generous lives well lived. On stage she’s so much larger than life that I’m always surprised how small she really is.

But I don’t understand the title. Why call it The Five Seasons? The five stations – or stages – would surely be closer.

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. Now acting editor of Discover Britain magazine, she continues to dance everything from ballroom to breakdance, with varying degrees of success.

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