Before I begin, let me confess something - ever since someone brought me back a set of castanets from a Spanish holiday when I was a little girl, I've been drawn to flamenco. The dresses, the lace mantillas, the sheer passion of the dance - one too many glasses of vino tinto and no laminate flooring is safe. So, when I spotted this show in the Fringe programme, I knew it was for me.
Todos los Gatos son Pardos, (which apparently means "all cats are grey") is a series of six contemporary flamenco pieces, by six choreographers, each of which celebrates an aspect of night, and performed by the Arrieritos ensemble of four female and two male dancers. The word "contemporary" in relation to dance always worries me a little, and I have to confess that the opening piece of the performance made my heart sink slightly.
The show opens on a dark stage, with several pale shadows just visible in the background. As the lights come up, the shadows reveal themselves to be five of the dancers, all dressed in white. The music intensifies, the dancers begin to move and the performance begins. This first piece is probably the most experimental, and involves the fewest traditional flamenco moves. It is beautifully performed and the music is curiously hypnotic, but this was definitely not my highlight.
Things looked up dramatically for me during the second piece, a double header - or maybe a four-footer? - for the two male dancers. Lots of high octane footwork from both performers as they crossed and re-crossed the stage, sometimes in close harmony, but always complementing each other. This section was followed by a piece that was probably as close to traditional flamenco as any in the whole performance, featuring three of the female dancers and one of the men. It made me think of a café scene, with the performers sitting around on stools chatting in the intervals between the wonderful dance movements, which were full of power and passion, exactly what I expect from flamenco.
The final piece of the evening was definitely the show-stopper, with five of the dancers performing a sort of flamenco ballet with what looked like mini street lights on wheels. Everything about this section was wonderful, from the amazing dancing to the lighting which highlighted the dancers' arm movements, to the fantastic pumping beat of the soundtrack.
Todos los Gatos son Pardos is a great piece of entertainment, and the performers roundly deserved the wholeheartedly enthusiastic reaction they got from the audience. I loved it - and I didn't miss the castanets once.
Times: Aug 3-12 at 19:15