Eva YerbabuenaHot on the Cuban heels of my honour and privilege in reviewing Carmen, I was invited to Eva, Eva Garrido(‘Yerbabuena’)’s Festival of Sydney ‘ballet flamenco’.
She might’ve been, technically, born in Frankfurt (she returned to Granada, her parents’ homeland, at just 2 weeks), but Eva and her company, is imbued with a fiery gypsy sensibility. Flamenco seems to me as cathartic, if not infinitely moreso, than, say, a decade or three of psychotherapy, in its uncanny capacity to liberate, rather than sublimate, a lifetime of hurts, wounds, sorrows, scars, disappointments, devastations, joys, triumphs, debits, credits, losses and gains.
That Eva’s been dancing since 12 should surprise noone, since she does it with such consummate self-assuredness: while I’m gasping, in anxious anticipation of a fatal error, she’s dancing her heart and soul out.
The show we saw was preceded by a veritable avalanche of critical acclaim, so nor should anyone have been knocked for six by the fact (at least for my companion and I) that it proved heartstoppingly beautiful, poetic, poignant, romantic and downright pneumatic; a celebration, in song, and dance, of the vagaries of life, love and lust.
What’s more, this programme’s been alive ‘n’ kicking for some little time, having premiered at ‘98’s Sevilla Bienal. Indeed, it was this performance which attracted invitations from theatres worldwide, including, presumably, our own SOH Concert Hall.
Since, she’s conceived a second show, ‘5 Women 5’, and it’s my ardent hope this, too, will find its way to our shores sooner, rather than later. And then there’s her most recent, ‘A Cuatro Voces’.
Meantime, you might have to content yourself with her rather divergent film career: in Mike (Leaving Las Vegas) Figgis’ documentary labour of love, ‘Flamenco Women’ and ‘Hotel’, in which she co-stars with the likes of, of all people, Burt Reynolds. Burt the gypsy?! I think not! But at least he’s got a moustache.
The great, transcendent strength of flamenco has been its uncanny resistance to any kind of destructive subversion. There’s nothing pop or hip-hop or ‘operatunistic’ about it. Despite the bourgeois environs of Jorn Utzon’s high temple, and Yerbabuena’s innovations and inventions, flamenco remains an art by the people, from the people, for the people. Amen to that! And you’ll be hard-pressed to find such dizzying choreographic finesse as Eva’s anywhere else.

Eva Yerbabuena
Ballet Flamenco

Venue: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Dates: Tue 23 January - Thu 25 January 2007
Times: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday at 8pm,
Bookings: 02 9250 7777 / www.sydneyoperahouse.com/eva

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