Dancers Tamara Sol Flys (center) and Sara Jerez with guitarist Miguelito at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria. February 17, 2010 (photo by Stan Peters)
It's noon-ish on Wednesday as I type these words. It's my day off and I'm at home finishing a few errands before heading out to enjoy the day. Before I talk about the new Sevillanas show, let me get these urgent announcements out of the way. Seriously, it's quite a busy week for flamenco in DC! Here's what's coming up in the next few days:
- Thursday February 24th at 7:30pm - Flamenco Night at El Manantial in Reston, Virginia. Singer Gerard Moreno, guitarist Ramin Rad with dancers Sarah Hart and Isabel Otero. 703-742-6466
- Thursday February 24th at 7:30pm - Flamenco Night at Jalapeño's Restaurant in Annapolis, Maryland. Singer Carlton Ashton, guitarist Behzad Habibzai with dancers Anna Menéndez, Sara Jerez and Pam de Ocampo. 410-266-7580
- Thursday February 24th at 7:30pm - Sevillanas Night at La Tasca Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia. Dancers Sara Candela and Renee Lamont with guitarist Miguelito.
- Thursday February 24th at 7:45pm - Flamenco at Las Tapas in Alexandria, Virginia. Dancers Edwin Aparicio and Tamara Sol Flys with guitarist Richard Marlow. 703-836-4000
- Friday February 25 at 8:00pm - Flamenco at Current Lounge in Dupont Circle. Presented by International Club of DC (tickets required).
- Saturday February 26 at 6:00pm - Berklee Flamenco at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage. TIP: arrive an hour early to line-up to get a good seat. FREE!
- Saturday February 26 at 7:30pm - Flamenco at Cafe Citron in Dupont Circle. Dancer Sara Jerez and guitarist Miguelito. 202-530-8844
- Sunday February 27 at 7:30pm - Furia Flamenca's Lorca: Flamenco Poetry at the Atlas Performing Arts Center presented by Intersections: A New America Arts Festival.
So what's so special about the new Sevillanas show at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria?
I mean Sevillanas shows in DC area Spanish restaurants are nothing new...they've been around for many years starting out first in the Jaleo restaurant chain. Why? It works quite well in a restaurant setting. First of all, there's no need for a stage...which means they don't have to give up any valuable table space. The music from a CD or an iPod is piped-in through the house sound system...so there's no need to hire a musician.
It's simply two festively-dressed flamenco dancers playing castanets and performing Sevillanas...the only couple dance that has become part of the flamenco repertoire. The diners get practically a front-row seat of the show as the dancers make their way between the tables throughout the restaurant. It's just short enough to provide a little taste of Spanish culture and entertainment without taking away too much time from conversation and dinner. What more could you ask?
Sara, Tamara and Miguelito. February 17, 2010 (photo by Stan Peters)
Well...the folks at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria decided to kick-it-up a notch and add a live guitarist to the show. Why hasn't this been done before? There's a bit of a technogical hurdle to make this work. Amidst the lively ambience of a restaurant like La Tasca the unamplified guitar is hard to hear.
So the guitarist has to connect his instrument "wirelessly" to the sound system to allow him to be a strolling musician and follow the dancers as they make their way throughout the restaurant. I think it's pretty cool to see a live dance show and hear live musical accompaniment a few feet away. Not to say that a show with pre-recorded music isn't good. But when everything is live it's a bit more exciting in my opinion.
Of course the more technology you play with the higher the possibility of some technical glitch rearing its ugly head. Sure enough, last Thursday the sound system for some reason failed in the middle of the show. But we're professional performers so we continued the show without flinching.
The show must go on, right? So I continued to follow the dancers and played the rest of the show literally "unplugged." Of course I had to alter my technique slightly to play louder and to our surprise the audience loved it. I think the unamplified guitar gave our performance a more intimate feel.
(For you fellow guitarists out there who are curious, I use the Line 6 G30 guitar wireless system with a 100-foot range. It's purely digital and operates on the 2.4 GHz frequency (same as WiFi) so it's not affected by the radio interference typical of analog wireless systems of the past)
The Sevillanas shows at La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria are every Thursday at 7:30pm and 9:00pm and feature two flamenco dancers with guitarist Miguelito. Call 703-299-9810 to reserve a table.
Anywayz, as you now know, there's so much flamenco going on the next couple of days. Of course it would make me happy to see some familiar faces at my own flamenco shows but if not, that's cool. Just make plans to get out the house and do your part to support the local flamenco community!
Tamara and Sara. February 17, 2011 (photo by Stan Peters)