After a successful season at the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre in Stellenbosch, La Rosa will bring their new production ‘…en el Tablao Flamenco’ (“…in the flamenco tablao”) to the Artscape Theatre from February 14 to 23. It is choreographed by El Truco from Madrid and directed by Carolyn Holden.
Tablao, meaning ‘wooden stage’ in Spanish, refers to the small piece of wooden floor used in flamenco performance. Featuring the cream of South Africa’s flamenco dancers, singers and musicians, this production explores the dynamics of Spanish night-life during the early 1940s.
Beauty, grace, passion, pride and a touch of humour are juxtaposed with exploitation and soul-searching. As Holden explains, “Last year, with the successful ‘Pena Flamenca’, I showcased an aspect of flamenco, the Pena, where the community celebrates flamenco in a relaxed informal environment without an audience present. In this new production the context of a tablao demonstrates the shift to a more structured, commercial type of flamenco performance.”
The background to this new production encompasses what happened during the Second World War, when General Franco offered America the opportunity to establish military bases in Spain to facilitate access to Europe. Franco encouraged the establishment of tablaos as a means to market Spain and its diverse cultural products to foreigners, particularly Americans. As a result, flamenco artists were frequently exploited, tainting the reputation of flamenco as an art form. It was only after the demise of Franco during the 1970’s that flamencos were able to begin breaking down the stereotypes associated with flamenco and re-building the integrity of this form.
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