Pepa Molina’s ‘Perceptions’ – Dance Informa Journal

Riverside Theatres, Sydney.
20 July 2023.

The world premiere of Pepa Molina’s Perceptions, introduced by FORM Dance Initiatives at Lennox Riverside Theatre on Thursday July 20 as a part of Dance Bites 2023, was an intimate and refreshing tackle Flamenco. It explored perceptions across the artwork kind, together with intricacies, superstitions, and clichés of Flamenco’s previous and current and invited the viewers right into a cultural house of curiosity, humour and flawless rhythms. Molina collaborated with famend visitor artists from Spain, award-winning Flamenco dancer Jesús Fernández (director, choreographer and performer) and Flamenco singer David Vázquez (singer) to carry this manufacturing to life in a rhythmically inducing method. The soundscapes had been created by Paco Lara Puerto (guitarist and composer), Marco Van Doornum (guitarist) and Jesús Mañeru (electro acoustic composer).

Molina, a Western Sydney Flamenco dancer, is a passionate artist whose focus is on collaborating with different nationwide and worldwide artists and bringing communities collectively to develop and share the artwork kind. With Andalusian heritage, Molina is revered internationally with over three many years performing for main firms akin to: Rafael Amargo, Paco Peña, “Los Losada”, Manolete, Arrieritos, “La Mariquilla”, Juan Andres Maya, Marcos Flores and Pan American Symphony Orchestra. As a multi-award successful founder and director of dance firm “Compañia Pepa Molina” established in 2004, her productions have toured Europe and the globe. 

The night commenced with enchanting vocals as Molina and Ferñandez graced the stage with grounded toes and delicate sways, leaning into the fascinating melodies by Vázquez. This led into the rhythmic pulse of Soleá carried out by Jesús Fernández, who was wearing black relaxed pants and a tucked in white shirt with small polka dots, adopted by Spanish guitar which was performed by Paco Lara and singing by David Vázquez. Fernández emulated the depth required of the type, and introduced robust and exact higher physique work, posture and arms. In La Caña Molina held her kind with a concentrate on footwork and shifting of the burden, remaining fully secure each in rhythm and elegance all through the choreography.

Pepa Molina in 'Perceptions'. Photo by Beatrix Molnar.
Pepa Molina in ‘Perceptions’. Picture by Beatrix Molnar.

Collectively in Paso a dos, Molina and Fernández of their duet challenged traditions in costume and roles – Molina was wearing a black sequined bolero, mesh prime and pants which positioned a highlight on her stylistic kind and toes. Injected with modern strikes, which punctuated the piece all through, ranges had been explored, with footwear off toes held in fingers instigating the beat.  Different props akin to a desk had been launched to generate rhythms because the artists together with Marco van Doornum (guitarist) gathered round while expressions offered delicate comedic components within the narrative which isn’t typically seen within the severe and intense artwork kind. What I loved about Perceptions was the cheeky factor and interactions the dancers had with one another on stage, providing the viewers a contemporary take and an opportunity to chortle amidst the depth. 

Flamenco is an authentic artwork of Andalusia (the place Molina’s heritage extends from) and its birthplace Seville. The Flamenco triangle is between the cities of Cádiz, Jerez de la Frontera and Triana in Seville, and it’s believed to have combined bloodlines from numerous cultures and influences akin to gypsy, Arba, Christian and Jewish. Historically, Flamenco is understood to be comprised of Cante (singing), also called palo, Toque (guitar enjoying), Baile (dance), Jaleo (singing and choruses), Palmas (hand clapping) and Pitos (finger snapping) and castanets (which I’ve by no means been capable of grasp). Flamenco connects deeply to emotion – a method of dance which expresses ardour, romance, lamenting and bringing consolation to those who dance and expertise the intoxicating rhythms. 

Having been uncovered to my Spanish heritage and uncovered to Flamenco lessons in Australia together with exhibits in Granada and Sevilla, Spain, I used to be capable of admire what the artists on stage had created – fusing the normal and modern – and had labored so endlessly to realize. Nevertheless, there have been moments that I started to query why extra individuals hadn’t attended this brilliantly rehearsed present. It was evident by the viewers’s response that they too had heritage, or had engaged with the artwork kind on some degree, and understood the narrative being expressed resulting from cultural and inventive understanding. Nevertheless, judging by the half crammed theatre, it grew to become obvious that there’s a better alternative for additional cross-cultural schooling – an change which must be prolonged to each the dance neighborhood and local people, and that is what presenter FORM Dance Initiatives is getting down to obtain. FORM’s program spans 4 key areas: presentation and producing, schooling, neighborhood engagement and viewers improvement. The interconnectedness of those actions is significant for a wider appreciation of Australian dance tradition in a shifting modern context. FORM exists to supply alternatives for Australian unbiased dance artists to create, experiment, current new work and join with audiences. 

With such a wealthy historical past and evolution, leaders akin to Pepa Molina and Marina Tamayo – my former Flamenco trainer who was additionally within the viewers, and who featured within the film Carmen – have been paving the best way right here in Australia to share, educate and expose extra individuals to Flamenco. Molina notes, “A recent revolution is happening within the artwork type of Flamenco; it’s contemporary, daring and questions the established. I’ve a have to experiment and create cross-cultural work, to problem the established and query the rigidity that lies within the conventional Flamenco kind (which I like and respect).”

Having a recent background in dance and adoration for custom, I loved the refreshing combine of latest notions, fused with the normal execution. Typically, within the Flamenco type, pink is commonly the color of selection, and represents bravery, power, vitality and fervour. Nevertheless, in Perceptions, Molina wore probably the most extremely constructed yellow gown with weighted layers and frills. She notes, “Yellow: historically to put on yellow is dangerous luck, one thing that my mom has ingrained in us…it was dangerous luck to put on yellow on stage.” Nevertheless, as occasions have modified, she notes, “Right now, you’ll be able to see youthful generations carrying yellow on stage, and it’s wonderful.”

The long-lasting yellow Flamenco gown she wore on stage was designed and made in Sevilla, and consists of a number of layers of heavy material, which got here together with her all the best way to Australia. All through the present, she additionally makes use of a yellow hand-embroidered silk scarf from Foronda (since 1923) Seville, the grasp craftsman of the Manila Scarf. 

Perceptions is Molina’s second Dance Bites manufacturing, following “Bush Bailando” premiered by FORM Dance Initiatives in 2016, to rave evaluations and earned Molina the 2016 Dance Australia Critics’ Selection for Most Attention-grabbing Artist. 

As one of many main presenters of unbiased dance in Sydney and Australia, FORM is the place artists come to premiere new dance work and realise their creative imaginative and prescient. They assist artists in any respect phases of their profession, develop their nationwide and worldwide profiles, and supply beneficial skilled improvement alternatives. Their signature Dance Bites program is acclaimed for its eclectic curation, showcasing a variety of choreographers working throughout numerous types – from the progressive and experimental to the favored and accessible. The works of skilled, extra established artists are positioned alongside these of promising newcomers.

By Renata Ogayar of Dance Informa.