Flamenco King Coming to Vancouver: Thursday, March 10

Fresh on the heels of the International Salsa Festival, another Latin dance and music spectacular is rolling into town.  On March 10 at 8 p.m., the Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company will perform downtown at the Vogue Theatre.

The company features a stellar cast of guitarists, percussionists, vocalists and dancers, all of whom are well versed in the art of flamenco, the spirited music and dance native to southern Spain.  At the center of it all is Paco Pena, a living legend widely regarded as one of the world’s best flamenco guitarists.  In fact, no less an authority than The New York Times commented that, “Mr. Pena is a virtuoso, capable of dazzling an audience beyond the frets of mortal man . . . . this listener cannot recall hearing any guitarist with a more assured mastery of his instrument.”

Wow – pretty high praise!  Of course, the show, called Flamenco Vivo!, is more than just virtuoso guitar playing.  It’s a musical journey that recreates the rhythms, colours and sounds of Andalucia, Spain, the birthplace of flamenco.  Also featured are some of the top flamenco dancers from Europe and Latin America, including the famous Charo Espino, who the UK’s Guardian newspaper said “can distill a whole dance tradition through the eloquence of her hands.” Here’s a video of the dance company on YouTube:

I’ve had a chance to see flamenco shows in Spain and other parts of the world, and the combination of the powerful guitar playing, percussion and passionate dancing is a moving, emotionally draining experience.  Even if you’re not a huge fan of flamenco, I’d suggest checking this show out.  Flamenco has a kind of instant, visceral appeal that takes a lot of people by surprise.

Not to mention that the venue is pretty cool, too.  The Vogue Theatre might not be a hot and sweaty cerveceria in Spain, but it’s a really intimate, funky place.  The old theatre has been lovingly refurbished, with floor level seating and a big, old-fashioned balcony (which actually offers some of the best seats in the house).  Plus, the Vogue serves beer and wine and tends to attract a high-energy, dancing-inclined crowd.  Tickets start at $45.  Check out the Vogue’s website for details.

Anyone else a flamenco fan?  Are you planning to check out Paco Pena?

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