This month I had the rare opportunity to see a man fly while his feet were still planted firmly on the ground.
Farruquito, the grandson and heir to the legacy of the infamous Farrucos Gypsy familia, appeared at New York’s City Center as part of the 2016 Flamenco Festival. This 90 minute show featuring a cast of 2 guitarists, a percussionist and 4 vocalists and a guest appearance by female flamenca Gema Moneo delivered on all accounts; 90 minutes of unbridled impassioned music and dance.
Every second of this 90 minute show was emotionally charged. After seeing many flamenco shows around the world this was the first time in my life, that I had ever been moved by the vocalists in a flamenco performance. It didn’t matter that they were singing in a language I didn’t understand. There was a universality in the way they sang that made you understand them – not their exact words, but understand how they were feeling, why they were there. Sitting in my chair, I could feel my soul (perhaps my duende) dancing with them. It was so hard to resist the temptation to get up out of my seat and dance with them in what seemed to be the convocation of the flamenco spirits.
Then like a sorcerer moving stealthily through the shadows he appeared. The Farruquito. His presence alone demands attention. As he stood there, it was as if you could feel the spirits of his ancestors convening in his body. And, when he was ready, he began dancing.
Every movement, and every part of his body, from the tips of his fingernails to the ends of his hair was overflowing with passion. His formidable footwork mesmerized the audience with its sheer speed and crystal clear clarity. Each sound, every punta (toe), tacon (heel) or golpe (stamp) rolled effortlessly one after another at a rate so fast that confirmed that Farruquito was possessed with super natural power. The way Farruquito moved with the music was as if the music inhabited his body and Farruquito was speaking in tongues. For any dancer in any genre of any level this is the epitome of what you want to achieve through dance. To be possessed by the music, fearless and truly free…as if you were flying. And fly he did. As he finished each escobilla with his exhilarating footwork he would take us with him , up to the heavens, and like that with his final stamp – SILENCE. And there he would float, in the spotlight soaring up to the mezzanine.
As dancers we always strive to be one with the music . Our aim is to be the physical and visible expression of the music. Dance is music made visible, as the saying goes. After decades of training, and watching great dancers in various tyles this was the first time EVER I saw this theory in practice. You couldn’t separate Farruquito from the music, he and the music were one singular being – and the only word to describe it is magical.
Thank you Farruquito. For showing me that it is possible to dance as one with the music. That it is not just a concept or merely a state of mind, but something that is physically possible. Thank you for re-affirming what we should be searching for as dancers – as artists. One day, while my feet are planted in the ground, connecting with the Earth with every step, every stamp and every slide, I hope i can fly like you.