Forever Flamenco Review – Sensuality al Fresco

Timo Nunez in FOREVER FLAMENCO - Photo by Gennia Cui
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The Fountain Theatre’s cool outdoor stage turned out to be just about perfect for steamy, sizzling Spanish flamenco dancers to raise the temperature. From pulse-pounding music to sinewy body movements, FOREVER FLAMENCO delivers. Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as “the earth and fire of first-class flamenco,” this is a production which will leave you breathless – and swaying in time to the rhythmic beat. FOREVER FLAMENCO performs under the stars in August and September 2021.

Lakshmi Basile – Photo by Bruce Bisenz

This al fresco production offers Los Angeles audiences the opportunity to experience the classic song and dance without that long flight to far-off Spain – in the time of the pandemic something to be grateful for. Happily, Fountain Theatre staff are ever vigilant to the dangers of COVID: each participant is asked to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask. Seats are also socially distanced.

Reyes Barrios and Antonio de Jerez – Photo by Ed Krieger

The stage is set for a vivid and memorable evening. A set of empty chairs greets the audience, with anticipation rising as two guitar-toting musicians enter and begin to strum their instruments. Finally, three dancers join them – and the show is on with a spirited “Ole,” the signal that each musician and dancer must put his heart and soul into his performance.

Antonio de Jerez and Reyes Barrios – Photo by Ed Krieger

There are numerous hypothesis about the origins of flamenco. Most agree that flamenco celebrates the culture and tradition of the Gitanos, the gypsies of Southern Spain, and reflects their exchange with the Spanish moors in the sixteenth century. Records indicated that, in the nineteenth century, Gitanos were often known as Flamencos – perhaps associated with their reportedly fiery temperament. Thus, one theory of the christening of the art form was born. The music is complex, an unusual style integrating harmony, melody, and rhythm. Regardless of its history and the many theories about its development, flamenco has gained a huge audience across the globe and continues to intrigue and attract new followers worldwide.

Timo Nunez – Photo courtesy of Fountain Theatre

This reviewer saw the August 28 performance of FOREVER FLAMENCO. Each of the several performances will feature a different group of musicians and dancers. The current production was under the artistic direction of Reyes Barrios with featured dancer Timo Nunez, a man who morphed into liquid sexuality as his body responded to the pulsing beat. Nunez was accompanied by his female cohorts, Reyes Barrios – an old timer with some clever new tricks and a voice to match – and Lakshmi Basile – the personification of Gitano flame.

Antonio de Jerez – Photo by Bruce Bisenz

FOREVER FLAMENCO will charm and delight every audience, with the added opportunity to see several different flamenco groups on different nights. Flamenco remains a classic art form – but perhaps also an expression of hidden emotions in each of us.

FOREVER FLAMENCO runs through 9/26/21, with performances at 8 p.m. on Saturday 8/28, Sunday 8/29, Friday 9/24, Saturday, 9/25, and Sunday 9/26/21. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90029. Tickets range from $45 to $65. For information and reservations, call 323-663-1525 or go online.

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