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Flaming Flamenco in France

Sara Baras sparked my addiction to Flamenco like Paris lit my taste for living. This sinewy 37 year-old dark-haired woman from San Fernando, Cádiz (Spain) changes any notion you ever had for the dance that is a fusion of Arabic, Andalusian, Sephardic, and Gypsy cultures we call Flamenco. The word “flemenc” is synonymous with “Gypsy” also meaning “expelled peasant,” but there’s no ‘peasant’ in Sara Baras — she’s a ‘class act.’

It was her seventh performance at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, and the fourth or fifth I’ve personally attended. It was also her last show of the season this past Monday night. A memorable date: 1-10-10 or 10-1-10, depending on how you look at it, and either way it was a top-ten performance to last a lifetime of memories.

Oh, how I wanted to don that red silky voluminous dress that she wraps, ties, swirls, swings, tosses and explodes like a flame. She’s on fire herself, with her tapping feet that move so fast you see only a blur like a hummingbird’s wings.

Sara’s concept of Flamenco is far from what you might have seen on your last vacation to Spain. She calls it “ballet,” and graceful it is, but flaming with passion. With no backdrop other than clever lighting, a few props consisting of hats, canes and contemporary costumes, she tells a poetic story with nine other dancers (five men and four women) and a half-dozen guitarists and singers that set the music, rhythm and fiery mood.

They were all superb, each and every one, and I thought it interesting that in most of the choreography, she did not set herself apart from the others (as with a different colored costume), except for mostly being center stage. You could still tell her apart, not from her hair which was identically styled like the other four women dancers, but from the way her body moved, more precisely and with incredible grace.

The show was over, but we didn’t want her to leave the stage. It’s customary for the performers to each do a spontaneous short dance, as she coaxed each from their place in the line-up, even the guitarists and singers, whose own dancing was quite respectable.

Once you see her, you’ll have the ‘addiction,’ too, I promise you. There are several opportunities in Paris to get your ‘fix’ should you dare to be seduced. An organization called “Flamenco en France” regularly has concerts, performances and courses you can take to learn the art of Flamenco, as does “Lib’Arte Flamenco à Paris.”

Sara Baras comes almost every holiday season to Paris, if you can wait that long to get ‘burned’ by her hot steps, but if not, Flamenco en France is offering singing, guitar and dance January 30th with Juan Murube, Manuel Delgado and Alejandra Gonzales as well as the Théâtre la Reine Blanche is offering Flamenco al Desnudo in February and March.

Put on your dancing shoes or just plan on an up-close seat for the next time you want to light up your life…with Flamenco! For more information, visit: Flamenco en France or Lib’Arte Flamenco à Paris.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S.We had a small, but fascinating meeting yesterday at Parler Paris Après Midi…almost all women until one old friend became the ‘rooster’ in the hen house. Read all about it at parlerparis.com/apresmidi.html and plan on coming next month! Put it into your calendar NOW, so you won’t forget.

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