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THE BRATISLAVA FLAMENCO FESTIVAL BRINGS TOGETHER DANCERS AND MUSICIANS FROM HOME AND ABROAD FOR THE SIXTH TIME

The five days of flamenco

ONE of the best flamenco dancers in the world, Juan Polvillo has danced for such noteworthy personalities as King Hussein of Jordan and the former US President George Bush. Hailing from Seville, Spain, Polvillo is coming to perform at the Flamenco Festival in Bratislava for the second time. This time, though, as part of his current central European tour, he will present his new programme, Latido Flamenco. But, as he did last time, he will dance to the music of Slovak guitarist Morenito de Triana (aka Stanislav Kohútek).
"The two have been working together closely for around three years," says Cyril Kubiš, one of the festival's organisers and a violinist from the Slovak bands Los Remedios and Lagrima. Kubiš, together with Spanish singer Felix de Lola, will perform with the two on November 21.
According to Kubiš, the reason that Polvillo prefers working with a Slovak instead of a Spanish musician is that he likes it when someone brings new styles into the traditional flamenco form. In the case of de Triana, the musician has enriched their performances with elements that come from Slovak folklore.


THE SUCCESSFUL Sangre Flamenca show...
photo: Ctibor Bachratý

ONE of the best flamenco dancers in the world, Juan Polvillo has danced for such noteworthy personalities as King Hussein of Jordan and the former US President George Bush. Hailing from Seville, Spain, Polvillo is coming to perform at the Flamenco Festival in Bratislava for the second time. This time, though, as part of his current central European tour, he will present his new programme, Latido Flamenco. But, as he did last time, he will dance to the music of Slovak guitarist Morenito de Triana (aka Stanislav Kohútek).

"The two have been working together closely for around three years," says Cyril Kubiš, one of the festival's organisers and a violinist from the Slovak bands Los Remedios and Lagrima. Kubiš, together with Spanish singer Felix de Lola, will perform with the two on November 21.

According to Kubiš, the reason that Polvillo prefers working with a Slovak instead of a Spanish musician is that he likes it when someone brings new styles into the traditional flamenco form. In the case of de Triana, the musician has enriched their performances with elements that come from Slovak folklore.

The Bratislava Flamenco Festival, which is the only of its kind in eastern and central Europe, will celebrate flamenco culture for five days, starting November 18. Its 6th year will offer music concerts and dance shows performed in the pure flamenco style - the unique gypsy folklore that originated in Andalusia, Spain - as well as its modern interpretations.

The festival's first day, Tuesday, will welcome Polvillo's compatriot Marcos García, a talented guitarist from Granada, Spain. García and two professional flamenco guitarists of Slovak origin - Flaco de Nerja and the already mentioned Morenito de Triana - will perform solo works by Paco de Lucia, Amigo, and Tomatito at a guitar recital. At the end, they will hold a traditional "guitar fiesta", where the three, playing together for the first time, will improvise in the style of flamenco.

Among other musicians coming to play at the festival, the Austrian Dani Zdrahal, whose family roots reach to Spain, will play on November 19. Slovak flamenco groups Lagrima and Flamenco Clan, performing afterwards, will present their programmes, in which they combine traditional flamenco with elements of jazz, classical music, and Arab folklore. At the end of the concert, the two groups and Zdrahal will play together.


...will take place on November 20.
photo: Ctibor Bachratý

Thursday, November 20, will feature a two-part dance programme. The youngest Slovak flamenco group, Furias, accompanied by García, will make their introduction in the first part. The second part will present music-dance show Sangre Flamenca, a traditional flamenco mixed with modern dance, performed by dance group Flamenco Contemporaneo to jazz and classical music played by Los Remedios and Flamenco Contemporaneo. The performance recently finished touring Slovakia and the Czech Republic but, as Kubiš revealed, there will be more touring after the festival.

Five-member flamenco group Arsa y Toma from Prague, featuring energetic dancer Jana Drdácka, will start the dancing day of the festival on November 21. Followed by Polvillo's special dance show, the evening will continue with a people's party, or Fiesta Flamenca, running till the next morning. A gala concert on November 22, condensing the best of the festival's programme, will close the event.

According to the organisers, Polvillo knows how to draw the attention of the audience with his virtuoso foot techniques and the expressive movements of his body. But it is not yet clear if the festival will draw him back to Slovakia again next year.


Juan Polvillo
photo: Courtesy of Boris Džurňák

Programme of the Flamenco Festival

Nov 18 at 19:00
Guitar Recital
Klarisky Church

Nov 19 at 18:00
Dani Zdrahal
Austrian Culture Forum

Nov 20 at 19:00
Sangre Flamenca
Zrkadlový Háj
House of Culture

Nov 21 at 17:00
Arsa y Toma
Czech Centre

Nov 21 at 19:30
Juan Polvillo
Aréna Theatre

Nov 22 at 19:00
Gala Concert
Aréna Theatre

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