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Thursday, July 12, 2018


(Teresa Galan, Ana Salvatore, Milissa Mia, Enrique Marin, Taryn Van Wyk,
Hannah Brophy Bosch, Sanisha Naidoo & David Romero. Pic by Val Adamson)

Elegant Seduction ... (Review by Verne Rowin Munsamy)

With so many dance companies facing closure due to lack of funding, it is remarkable to come across one that has made it to their 35th anniversary.  Linda Vargas' flamenco dance company is celebrating this milestone with a Gala event at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. The company has gone all out to demonstrate why and how they have acquired leading status in the Durban and South African dance world. Vida Flamenco is the company’s celebration of all their achievements as well as the adoration of this sultry Spanish dance form.

More than 70 dancers of all ages and technical abilities flaunt their passion, flare and skill in this two-hour long Spanish extravaganza. I have had the pleasure of following this dance company for roughly a score and I have always been in awe of their vigour, ferocious footwork and dazzling arm movements.

Linda Vargas was simply enticing with every movement she took on the stage and with her showstopper costumes, performance oozes out through every gesture and eye movement. David Romero, one of the founding members, Wesley and Ashton Maherry, Alicia del Rey and Gemma Schuman showed enormous strength, spice and technical ability on stage. Ramon Fernández was extraordinary in his solo and had the audience enthralled with every flick of the wrist and tap of his foot. We were also privileged to have Flatfoot Dance Company members and Kevin Ellis share the stage within their respective dance styles.

The musicians, led by Demi Fernández on guitar, Martin Sigamoney playing several instruments, Neil Gonsalves on piano and Bryan Stone on percussion, were the perfect fit and complemented these flamboyant dancers with their own bravado and showmanship. The scoring of the piece was a good mix of old and popular modern. This is important as the show starts to modernise the Flamenco style a little in the second half with the infusion of a few other styles including contemporary and belly dancing.

The costumes were elaborate and sensual. The lighting design by Wesley Maherry was evocative with shades of purple and red, with oranges to create a warm Spanish sunset. Opening night saw a few hiccups but nothing too major as to detract from the rhythmic seduction on stage. Well done to the company and Linda Vargas for sharing your joy and passion with us.

Vida Flamenco: The Linda Vargas 35th Anniversary Gala Season runs at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre on the UKZN’s Howard College campus until July 15, 2018.

Performances are on Wednesday to Saturday at 19h00 with matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 14h30. Tickets R180 with block booking discounts at R130 each for 10 or more tickets. Seats in the last two rows for each performance are R150. Booking is through Computicket. Shows run nightly at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre. - Verne Rowin Munsamy