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Festival Debut for Flamenco’s Finest

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Eva Yerbabuena – Festival Debut for Flamenco’s Finest

Hailed as one of the major forces in the flamenco world today, Eva Yerbabuena’s
Festival performance will showcase her intimate and powerful dance Eva – the piece that secured her success and reputation.

The award-winning performance Eva premiered in 1998 at the Biennale of Flamenco in Seville (the largest and most prestigious flamenco festival in the world), and seduced even those critics who had no great love of the dance with its simple costumes, disciplined group choreography and spare, elemental style. In 2002 the performance at London’s Sadler’s Wells won her the Time Out Best Performer of the Year award. Yerbabuena has also been awarded the Flamenco Today prize for Best Dancer for three consecutive years, 1999, 2000, 2001.

Eva Yerbabuena [pronounced Ay-va Yer-bub-wena] and her Andalusian company of six dancers and seven musicians present six stunning nights of this seminal show sponsored by The Todd Corporation.

Eva begins and ends with Yerbabuena seated dramatically in a chair, back arched and listening intently to a gramophone playing scratchy instrumental music. She gets up, as if to visualise the music, seeking out its ‘feel’, its aire, through movements of her arms, twists of the body and silent steps. The hushed steps are precursors to the foot-stamping hailstorm of heels that becomes the heady pulse of this passionate and intense dance – flamenco.

Describing this scene, Yerbabuena says “I am alone, in silence. Music plays on a crackling gramophone. It tells me that flamenco – its voices, sounds, instruments and movements – is a supreme expression of feeling, without rules or limits and that it has long been so. Travelling in time, I move towards an awareness of something in which I have long believed: flamenco’s timelessness.”

Yerbabuena is petite – barely five-feet tall - and has a distinctive way of moving her arms and torso. In Eva she performs many of her dances as solos; the Granaína, expertly executed in a ruffled bata de cola (tail dress), and her signature palo (generic song form) Soleá, which perhaps most allows expression of the ‘deep’ soul of a dancer. Other pieces involve the company’s other six exceptional dancers.

Performing live on stage is Yerbabuena’s husband, guitarist Paco Jarano, who leads a group of three singers, two guitarists, a percussionist on cajón (beat box) and flautist through the music and songs of Spain’s Andalucia.

Yerbabuena balances the need to take the artform in exciting new directions with a reverence for the flamenco tradition. This approach maintains the purity of the rhythms and lines of flamenco, whilst marking her out as one of the most exciting figures in the new order. Yerbabuena has worked with many of flamencos leading dancers including Joaquin Cortes and collaborated with leading contemporary choreographers such as Germany’s Pina Bausch.

This New Zealand premiere of Eva promises the timelessness of flamenco from the world’s finest as it captivates its audiences – transcending emotional, cultural and geographical boundaries.

Biography information on Eva Yerbabuena:

Yerbabuena established her Ballet Flamenco Dance Company in 1998, quickly gaining respect from critics and aficionados alike. Not content to be simply a vessel for tradition, she strives to find her own voice and use flamenco as a medium for her ideas.

The seven years since then have seen Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena perform in the most prominent venues and festivals around the world, including the Bienal de Seville, New York’s City Center Theatre, Theatre de la Ville in Paris, Barbican and Sadler’s Wells in London and scores of other theatres throughout Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America.

Yerbabuena started dancing at the age of 12 under the tuition of Enrique ‘El Canastero’, Angustillas ‘La Mona’ and then Mario Maya – the great master of flamenco dance. Her talents led her to join the Rafael Aguilar Flamenco Company in 1985, and by 1990 she had launched her solo career working with famous flamenco dancers such as Manolete in Amor Brujo, Merche Esmerelda in Mujeres, Joaquín Cortés in Jóvenes Flamencos and Javier Baron in his work ‘Flamenco’ in New York.

She has collaborated with Academy Award winning British filmmaker Mike Figgis in Flamenco Women and his more recent Hotel starring John Malkovich and Salma Hayek, as well as contemporary choreographer American Carolyn Carlson and the revered German choreographer Pina Bausch.

Her success as a performer and choreographer has seen numerous awards bestowed upon her including 2001 Premio Nacional de Danza, Spain’s most prestigious dance prize. She was awarded the Flamenco Today prize for Best Dancer for three consecutive years, and received the Best Performance and Best Ballerina honours at the 2000 and 2002 Bienal de Seville, for her choreographic work and performance in 5 Mujeres 5 and La Voz del Silencio respectively.

Praise for Eva:
“Yerbabuena makes a feature of her own purity by presenting a show stripped to essentials. Her style of movement is focused strictly on the pure rhythms and lines of flamenco.” Guardian

“This young woman is touched by greatness.” The Times

‘Eva is the best representative of flamenco dance today.” Flamenco World

Performance dates: Wed 8 – Fri 10 March, 8pm, Sat 11 March 2 & 8pm, Sun 12 March, 6.30pm,
Opera House, Wellington


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