Sadler’s Wells have had to be patient enough to finally set off this rocket, a three-year wait well worth the endeavour. Being only able to see one piece from the fortnight-long festival, Compañía Maria del Mar Moreno was just the ticket. I never expected it just to be so earthy and it was highly captivating. It makes you want to try those little tap shoes yourself… 

It is the women who own flamenco (though other performances in the festival would melt away this conception) and here it is the young and more experienced who collaborate in a near two hours of sensational dance. I’ll confess there is little in variety, but once you expect this you can easily fall in love with the bravado. These ladies cast a spell over all who attended, with many cries of “Olé!” coming from both the auditorium as well as the stage. 

What intrigued me most was the combination of stomping and hand gesturing in relation to the emotions being held upon. The all-male troupe of musicians were filled with guitars, percussion and a non-stop patter of clapping. I marvelled at one clicking dancer who mimicked castanets without posing a pair. The robust nature of the art is the real selling point of it all. It is Maria herself who commands the show with a concussive turn, her classic red dress, a joy to behold. One felt we were in the presence of a true master and we were all blessed for the encounter. This fabulous festival must be seen at all costs. 

Review: James Ellis  Photo: Esteban Abión