A gala in tribute to World Flamenco Day and the 82nd birthday of outstanding Spanish dancer and choreographer Antonio Gades, unfolded November 10 and 11 with a couple of performances staged at the “Alicia Alonso” Havana Grand Theater.
With the artistic and general direction of Irene Rodríguez, and the participation of the Spanish dance company named after her, the two-act show presented to the attending public and critics some well-known pieces of the company, such as El Mito, recipient of the UNEAC and the Public’s Choice prizes during the fourth edition of the “Vladimir Malakhov” Dance Contest, together with four world premieres.
The first act was rounded out by Homenaje, Encontra2 and La Peña Negra, where the performances of Emilio Batista, Yohan García, Jesús Villalonga and Irene Rodríguez herself stood out.
The five pieces that made up the second act were the zapateao Secret, followed by Duende, Entre Espinas y Rosas, Locura y Cordura and Amaranto, all with choreography by Irene Rodríguez, David Acosta (El Rojo), Ariel Puig and Mara de Armas.
With the virtuosity that characterizes the performances of the Irene Rodríguez Dance Company, those attending these two weekend functions were pleased with a well-structured program, full of flamenco music and dances, of Spanish songs and guitar riffs that, at times –with the help of a beautiful light design- seemed to draw the figure of Antonio Gades on the stage of the Havana Grand Theater.
In addition to the professional dancers that make up the company, students of the Spanish Dance professional workshops also participated in the show.
As a woman who juggles many hats, Irene Rodríguez, who was granted in October with the Order of Isabel the Catholic in the category of Officer's Cross, bestowed on her by the former Spanish ambassador to Cuba, Mr. Juan José Buitrago de Benito, is also recognized for her teaching job with hundreds of children who attend La Casa Rosada workshops every day in the Cuban capital.
“The uniqueness of Irene Rodríguez is that she has combined the invocation of the past as heritage, the appreciation of ethnic diversity, coupled with experimental imperative to expand the scenic vocabulary of the palos, always preserving and respecting their essence,” says Argel Calcines, editor-in-chief of the Opus Habana magazine.
Those who had the pleasure of attending these two days, teeming with flamenco music and dancing, to the most recent presentation of the Irene Rodriguez Spanish Dance Company, became not only grateful spectators who had a good opportunity to wallow in spiritual enjoyment, but also exceptional witnesses for the excellent artistic work of this tireless and unwavering woman who keeps one of the elements the Cuban culture has always nurtured from very much alive.