After a three year hiatus, London’s annual flamenco festival is back in town.
And by the looks of it, it hasn’t missed a beat.
Like every other festival, it’s been out in the wilderness for the past few years, but from 21st June – 2nd July, it’ll be returning for its 17th iteration complete with more handclaps, castañets and cries of Olé! than ever before.
If you’re unfamiliar with flamenco, it consists of three key ingredients – guitar (guitarra), dance (baile) and song (cante) – and winds up a captivating mix of sultry costumes, expressive vocals and pulsing dance sequences. The artform is said to have originated in the cobbled streets of Andalusia, Spain’s southernmost region, sometime in the 15th century. Since then it’s gone global, resulting in celebrations like this one right here.
To mark the occasion, organisers Sadler’s Wells have reeled in a number of genre big guns – past, present and prospective – to grace both the main stage of their theatre and the Lillian Baylis Studio, with 13 performances over the fortnight for every kind of flamenco fan: purists yearning for bit of old-school flavour and those seeking the new-age interpretations that blend in the sounds and themes of today.
Onto the schedule… dancer and choreographer Manuel Liñan will be getting things under way on night one (June 21) with his powerful and vibrant gender-challenging show ¡VIVA!, while DJs and brothers Pedro and Benito Jimenez (also known as Los Voluble) are closing the curtain (July 2) with an experimental dance party. In between all this, there’s the not-so-small matter of concerts from two of the greats in María Pagés (1-2 July) and Tomatito (June 30), an all-female flamenco showcase led by María del Mar Moreno (24-25 June) and performances from young prodigies like Ana Morales (June 23), Paula Comitre and El Yiyo (both July 1). You can check out the full line-up here.
Limited to just the single show? Whatever you choose….
You can’t put a foot wrong.
Words by Rupert Hohwieler
NOTE: The Flamenco Festival is going down between 21st June and 2nd July. Tickets cost £10-£15, and you can nab ’em right HERE.
Sadler’s Wells Theatre | Rosebery Avenue, EC1R 4TN
Looking for more things to do this month? Check out what’s on in Islington