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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Jesus Carmona brings the flare back to flamenco dance at the Dubai Opera

One of the stars of Flamenco dance is set to make his UAE debut this week. We tell you all you need to know about Jesus Carmona before his performance 

Jesus Carmona calls his dance style a ‘hybrid’ VallinasMarcos G Punto
Jesus Carmona calls his dance style a ‘hybrid’ VallinasMarcos G Punto

He was a restless child

Born in Barcelona, Jesus Carmona was never satisfied with the status quo. In interviews, he recalls being a restless child, always eager to learn something new. Because of his mother’s wisdom, he was guided to channel that energy through movement, and was taken to his first flamenco dance lesson as a seven-year-old. He has never looked back.

At the top of his game

Dubai Opera will host a master of his form tomorrow. Despite his relatively young age, the 33-year-old has fast established himself as one of the best dancers of his generation. And the man has got the gongs to back it up: on his shelf is the “Desplante” trophy from the Cante de Las Minas. The title, which he won in 2012, is viewed as the one of the most prestigious in the flamenco dance world.

A classical background

The discipline and technique that fuses in his work is down to a three-year period as the principle dancer with the National Ballet of Spain. He also received former training in flamenco, Escuela Bolera (traditional dances with castanets and fans) in addition to tap dancing with New York artist Jared Grimes. All of these elements have been used in Carmona’s work to create dance spectacles far removed from the traditional flamenco norm.

Not for the purists

Purists will probably moan as the illustrious dancer likes to mix things up. This is a ­reaction to what he views as the increasing ­institutionalisation of dance music in general. While the plethora of schools and conservatories have resulted in a new generation of technically adept dancers, there is a concern that such technical know-how has come at the price of the freedom and creative central to flamenco dancing.

“That’s why I have my own company,” he said in an interview recently, “so I have the freedom to do what I want or need to do at any given time.”

A night at the opera

This brings us to Carmona’s debut Dubai performance. The show is part of a world tour of his latest production Impetus, which earlier this year was greeted with acclaim at New York’s Flamenco Festival back in March.

He will lead his company of 11 dancers and vocalists as they explore the various strands of Flamenco and traditional Catalan dance to the tune of famous scores by some of Spain’s most influential musicians such as the composer Isaac Albeniz and legendary flamenco guitarists Rafael Riqueni and Mario Escudero.

Impetus, as its name ­indicates, is an explosion of energy, movement and Spanish character, he explains. “It is a show created from my own need to evolve, express and create without limits. In this performance, you see my greatest truth, my energy and my way of conceiving art.”

The centrepiece of the show

Look out for Carmona’s superb solo which had the crowd gasping during his New York shows. Backed with skeletal production, the dancer fuses all of his talents together for a performance that has the flare of flamenco and the stringent discipline of ballet with a pas de deux also included in the routine. “It’s not exactly ballet, and it’s not exactly Escuela Bolera, and it’s not flamenco,” he said. “It’s a hybrid.” Jesus Carmona performs at Dubai Opera on Wednesday.
Tickets from Dh200 at www.dubaiopera.com

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