Ole…Bravo! A sold out show and a standing ovation were just a couple of heartfelt reactions that Fiona Malena and her ensemble received on September 13th, 2013. Words are not enough to describe the passion, excitement and love that filled the Roundhouse Community Centre after Fiona’s flamenco performance.
I feel blessed to have been a part of the audience for this beautiful show. There were times when I did not fully understand what was happening but still enjoyed the sounds, colours and movements which came together in perfect harmony. Puertas is a journey through four different countries of the world (Arabia, Spain, Jerusalem, and India)
Not only did the individual components of each dance come together in perfect cohesion but so did the story that Fiona and her ensemble were telling. Each piece had a story of its own but together they led to the culmination of one big story of true love.
Her every movement was graceful, elegant and perfectly synchronized with the music.
Let the journey begin. Simone Mor (multi-instrumentalist, chitarra battente) opened the show with a solo piece playing a beautiful, magical and mystical song on the Arabian flute. I had goose bumps while listening to his introduction. Fiona entered wearing a turquoise and white dress with a long feathered skirt. Her every movement was graceful, elegant and perfectly synchronized with the music. Her first number was very spiritual and enlightening to the soul.
Juan Murube (flamenco singer) mesmerized the audience with his expressive voice and ability to hold a note for long periods at a time. I felt as though I was present at a very romantic and touching opera. Listening to Juan sing, I felt the deep emotions of his words and became a touch teary-eyed.
Fiona takes us through Spain wearing a rich velvet red dress with gold embroidery while starting off a new relationship with her lover (the singer). She dances passionately to seduce her lover. Fiona’s movements were full of strength and energy. There was a time when she and the singer had a disagreement, like any couple in love, and through tap dancing, they resolved their differences.
Liron Man (flamenco guitar, hang drummer, and musical director) has magical hands on the hang drums. It is amazing to hear all of the different sound vibrations that can be created with one drum. Once more Fiona entered wearing another beautiful turquoise dress but this time with lace and silk. This number was a fun and light piece whereby she and her lover play a game of chase. It demonstrated their love for each other and the difficulty in being apart from one another.
The entire ensemble energized the audience with their passion and by the way they sped up the tempo in response to the couple’s excitement of being in love. To keep with the energy and momentum, Fiona appeared wearing a royal blue silk and lace dress. I love how Fiona incorporated the fan dance into this number and danced so very effortlessly with this prop. She used her fan to hide behind to show her shyness at hearing her lover’s compliments. As their relationship flourished, Fiona began to realize the power of the fan and used it to seduce her lover. To end this item, the couple finished with a romantic salsa.
While travelling to Jerusalem, both Fiona and her lover (Juan) were torn apart by the distance and longed to be reunited. Juan sang an emotional piece to show his sadness and convey how much he missed his beloved lover. Fiona reunited with her lover wearing a white satin dress and wrapped in a white shawl. After being reunited, Fiona did a scarf dance in which she incorporated the whirling dervish. It was the perfect movement to illustrate being in love.
With the final piece, I found myself feeling proud as Fiona walked through a door made of a red sari. A sari is made up of six yards of fabric and is a traditional form of dress for women in India. India is a rich part of my heritage and culture. Fiona was wearing a gold and read satin dress with hanging tassels while a very romantic ghazal was playing.
Juan then serenaded Fiona his beloved lover into submission. At the sound of a sitar (Indian guitar), Fiona, with devotion, praised her lover and soon-to-be husband. With the very Sufic rhythm and classical katak (Indian dance steps), Fiona gets ready for her wedding.
I love how Fiona incorporated different elements and dance steps from the different regions. As you can see Flamenco dancing is a combination of various dance forms from all over the world. Usually with a solo performance, it is hard to maximize the stage space but Fiona had no problems doing so which further highlighted her talent and skill.
Thanks to Patrick Painter for granting permission to use his photographs from the performance.
For those of you that went to the show, what would you say you loved most about the performance? Did you take away a different interpretation of the performance?
By Fatima Sumar, Roundhouse Blog Team. Fatima works with Matrix Connectivity Solutions running their social media, runs her own wedding consulting business QueenoHearts Planners Ltd, and creates jewellery. After coming on board at the Roundhouse, she realized how much the Roundhouse has to offer and the amount of love she can give back to the community.