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October 29, 2020

Fabulous Flamenco, at JTI Encounters

Flamenco, but transcendental flamenco. For the first time at the National Opera of Bucharest, Maria Pagés – the most famous flamenco dancer in the world – and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui – one of the most important contemporary choreographers – presented their show Dunas, at the 15th JTI Encounters event.
The show was intense, mesmerising the audience from first to last. Dunas was about the endless search for our own being, and the return to our roots from a life which can only be a delusional escape from solitude. The dancers were two lost souls together and apart, clashing in madness before getting lost and rediscovering each other in their common history. Past and future met in a sensual present, full of human pain and solitude, of fruitless searches and continual battles.
The passionate rhythms of flamenco, with its rough sensuality, were tempered by emotional Arabic tones and drove the dance of Maria Pagés in a spiritual search for answers to that universal question: why must there be pain and solitude, if we are all a part of the same life tree? The questions, posed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui as fluid images in sand, complemented the forceful movements of Maria Pagés.
Exquisite choreography, down to the smallest details, against a magical stage setting which transcended the stage itself. The two dancers extended the sensation of space, using  filmy gauze fabrics and light to make flowing waves of sand or shadowy spaces where the dancers became larger than life and split into separate selves.
“A fabulous show. There were moments which we will remember for years. I am talking about the fight between the dancers and Cherkaoui’s flamenco danced on his knees. Both of them were magnificent and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui was so flexible that it seemed surreal. His hands, his feet, everything makes him a perfect artist. The sand drawing was remarkable, his two hands creating such symmetry. Such a complete artist who can dance and draw with such talent is born all too rarely”, said Oltea Serban Pârâu,  Director, Cultural Centre Media Radio Romania.
“It was a fascinating show, right at the border between two worlds, two such different worlds. A original, ingenious and refined show”, said Gabriel Biris, Partner at Biris Goran.
JTI Encounters are in their 15th year. The series was launched in 2000 by the famous Bejart Ballet Lausanne. JTI Encounters artistes have included Nacho Duato and Compania Nacional De Danza, the Cullberg Ballet, Joaquin Cortes, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, Tango Pasion, Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo, Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant, Gigi Caciuleanu and the National Ballet of Chile, Alonzo King Lines Ballet from San Francisco and Vortice Dance Company. JTI Encounters are organized by the Art Production Foundation.

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