Heather “Stone” Wolf Says

Tag: Shows

La Gracia y Pasion- My brother totally rocks once again (as do Wendy, Alex & Randy)

by on Nov.16, 2008, under Dance, Entertainment

I was going to post after the first performance of de Gracia y Pasion on November 8th, but I knew I would be attending the second showing almost as soon as the first began. So, I went to see my brother’s flamenco show for the second time this weekend, because it was that good! Yes, it is my brother and I am biased. Yes, I am still absolutely correct. Believe me, I would not say how ridiculously talented he is were it not annoyingly true.  

Actually, to be more accurate, it is not just my brother, Scott’s, show. He, his girlfriend Wendy, and two of their friends came up with an idea for the four of them to do a show highlighting each of thier talents. So, as Wendy is a flamenco dancer (flamenco guitarist and dancer, doesn’t that work out nicely for them?), she dances in the show along with another beautiful dancer from her troupe, Alex, who also sings. Well, Scott could not be outnumbered, so his long-time friend and guitar teacher, Randy Pile, joins them. So, the quartet share equally in the rockin’ness. Yes, I just made up a word for them- they rock that much.

They had told me about this idea months ago, but they took it on the road first (and as fantastic as they all are, I cannot afford to go to Colorado just for a show) and they live in Glendale, CA, so I was waiting impatiently for them to perform it when and where I could actually attend! Finally, they brought it to Lila Jolla Studios in La Jolla, CA and I snagged two seats before they could sell out! 

So, onto the show! The program was put together flawlessly, moving from the dramatic and passionate pieces of the Operas el Amor Brujo, la Vida Breve and Goyescas through a little of Flamenco’s impressive history and closing with three standard dances Alegrias, Bulerias and Sevillanas and lots of audience cheering! From Alex pounding out an impossibly fast rhythm with her feet to a melancholy guitar duet to a sexy Tango, the pace of the show moves quickly through highs, a few lows (tempo only!) and never a dull moment. Really. 

Scott takes a moment between various pieces to introduce the audience to the background of the piece and composer, allowing those unfamiliar with the style or not fluent in Spanish to appreciate the back story. Wendy, or “Micaela”, covers the dance history, she and Alexandra taking on the persona or style of the dancer(s) they are emulating. This is particularly fun when they reach the brazen Carmen Amaya, who defied the “just look pretty and wave your arms” standard set for female flamenco dancers and wore a taliored man’s suit and stomped away with the best of them!

Each performer gets a solo moment, which is great, because it’s difficult to decide who to watch most of the time! Micaela and Alexandra have very distinct dance styles, but they mesh and compliment each other beautifully. Scott and Randy’s long history is evident in the flawless way in which they accompany each other. They are all very different personalities who intertwine seamlessy. Flamenco allows them to showcase their personalities, while interacting and encouraging each other on stage. It’s just fun to watch. And I do mean fun! 

I have attended many a classical show, not a few being my brother’s various performances, and have appreciated the execution and the skill of the musicians. I have certainly been moved by the beauty of the pieces and occasionally found myself relaxed to the point of an almost meditative state (decide for yourself whether that is good or bad). I have been to dance shows where I marvel at the ease with which dancers defy gravity or the speed and complexity of their footwork. Yet it is a rare show that makes me feel like I am at a party I just don’t want to end- and this show did that! twice! Whatever your musical style or interests, this is just a great time. If they come back to San Diego, or visit your city, go see them! If you have any measure of taste, you cannot possibly regret it!

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