With a floor especially made for Yoshi’s San Francisco stage by Jason McGuire himself, Caminos Flamencos made its second appearance at Yoshi’s on Fillmore November 27 to a warm, capacity crowd. It’s gratifying to see a long line of ticket seekers and will-calls in the lobby, later looking down from the balcony to a scene both sophisticated and comfortable. That’s going some, but this seems characteristic of what Caminos Flamencos and artistic director Yaelisa delivers. Elsewhere, the ensemble has delivered moments of definite artistic distinction; this time it was good entertainment, and, mind you, don’t knock it. Flamenco can embrace the spectrum as can its exponents.
Juan Cortes and Manuel de la Molena were the singers with Sudhi Rajagopal on the cajon and McGuire in his El Rubio persona. Yaelisa arrived in red skirt, black bolero and white blouse, Fanny Ara in a stylish yellow-and-brown number along with Melissa Cruz. Tall Juan Ogalla made the fourth dancer sharing a flamenco styled Sevillanas and castenets with Ara and Cruz before slipping away from view.
Ara’s number provided a surprising view of her talents as she bent low and stretched far as if coaxing spirits from the earth or possibly strong plants from
the soil. It was low bend and high reach, totally surprising. Knowing Spanish
would help correlate the vocal with the movement.
When Melissa Cruz followed in a briefer number her usual rhythmic surge was muted; at times she seemed to imitate Ara’s bending, searching for new ways of expression.
Yaelisa’s solo just prior to intermission found her changed to total black, the somber hue supporting a serious delivery with pauses, passages of arm work and taconeo rendered in elegant black slippers, solid dancing eschewing technical bravura. Judging from the response, her choices were clearly appreciated by afficionados.
Following the intermission Yaelisa acknowledged her musicians, playing solo variations, before Melissa Cruz danced her major contribution, attired in a very pretty cantaloupe-hued dress with specially designed flounces and ruffles, and wearing matching shoes. Sporting a white filigree fan, too large for her physical size, it rendered the manipulation less part of the dance than drawing attention to itself. Hers also was a dress suited to solo concert, rather than a solo within an ensemble.
Caminos Flamencos will be appearing at Marines Memorial December 2-4.