Fri, Dec 31, 2004 - Page 14 News List

Flamenco made in Spain, here

By Meredith Dodge  /  STAFF REPORTER

You may be getting a little tired of the (insert ethnicity here) version of the Romeo and Juliet story, but chances are you're starving, whether you know it or not, for some authentic Spanish flamenco. Starting tonight in Zhongli, Jose Greco Flamenco Dance Company will be offering both to audiences around Taiwan.

The Spanish troupe headed by Jose Greco II touched down in Taipei yesterday and will circumnavigate the island in 10 days, stopping in five cities and making it back up to Taipei for four shows Jan. 7-9 at the National Theater.

The main act, Los Tarantos, is a musical retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in the context of feuding gypsy families in Barcelona. Originally a stage play by Alfredo Ma entitled La Historia de los Tarantos, the story was adapted for the movie screen in 1963 and starred famed flamenco dancers Carmen Amaya and Antonio Gades.

In the black-and-white Oscar-winning film, the tarantos style of flamenco is used to convey the passion of the love story. In the Jose Greco production, which has already graced the stages of Italy this year, the love story will be used to show off the passion of the flamenco.

The show will also include an anthology of the classics of Spanish dance. Foremost will be a celebration of the great art of flamenco, which derives from the music of Moors, Jews and Gitanos (Gypsies) living in Spain. In the 15th century, at the height Spanish persecution of these groups, flamenco music and rudimentary dancing were born as an outlet for social and economic suffering.

The show will also feature another classic Spanish dance known as the Jota of Aragon. The Jota came out of the Aragon region in eastern Spain in the 1700s. In the tradition of the ancient carols, it refers to a dance as well as a song and is performed at both feasts and funerals to this day.

Jose Greco II, son of flamenco great Jose Greco Sr., founded the dance company in 1986. Jose II began his dance studies with ballet, not flamenco, at Spain's National School of Dance. His father was originally opposed to his children studying dance, but that seemed only to make Jose II and his sister, Carmelo (who will be dancing in the shows) more determined to become worldwide flamenco stars.

Performance notes:

What: Lost Tarantos by Jose Greco Flamenco Dance Company

Where: Zhongli (Dec. 31, 中壢藝術館); Yuanlin (Jan. 1, 員林演藝廳) Kaohsiung (Jan. 2, 高雄至德堂); Taichung (Jan. 4, 台中中山堂); Tainan (Jan. 5, 台南市立文化中心); Hsinchu (Jan. 6 新竹市立演藝廳) Taipei, National Theater (Jan. 7, 台北國家戲劇院)

Tickets: NT$400-NT$3,000

call Kuang Hong Arts at (07)740-3466 or visit www.ticket.com.tw

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