Olga Pericet

Review: In ‘Olga Pericet: Flamenco Untitled,’ the Dancer Maintains Control


The flamenco dancer Olga Pericet may be a tiny thing, but she knows how to fill a stage. She’s also lightning quick with a shawl — but more on that later.

Both kittenish and sleek, Ms. Pericet is a cross between Christina Ricci and a Russian ballerina. Is she a great flamenco dancer? Let’s put it this way: She isn’t the type to lose control of herself, to dance with such raw ferocity that she travels to another dimension and escapes only by stamping and twisting her way out. In any discipline, but especially flamenco, I like a dancer who isn’t afraid to be ugly. That’s not Ms. Pericet.

She does have her charms, though, which are on display in “Olga Pericet: Flamenco Sin Título” (“Flamenco Untitled”), which returned to the intimate Repertorio Español on Thursday night with the guitarist Antonia Jiménez Arenas and the singers José Ángel Carmona Manzano and Ismael Fernández. Ms. Pericet begins her show dramatically: standing under a hanging light, she pulls its string to make it swing back and forth before sliding her heels on the floor and unleashing, not a flamenco stamp, but a litany of hand gestures.


Ms. Pericet and Mr. Jiménez Arenas in “Flamenco Untitled.”CreditAndrea Mohin/The New York Times

Ms. Pericet, who wears tight black trousers and a white bolero jacket, is clearly influenced by European contemporary dance in which hands and wrists swirl — often around the head — with random abandon. At this point in any dance form, excessive hand movements are contrived, but Ms. Pericet, using her hips shrewdly, redeems these moves with absorbing touches that reveal the sinuous spiral of her back and arms.

It’s an uneven program all the same. Despite the musicians, whose simple dynamism draws on flamenco’s emotion, “Flamenco Untitled” feels too premeditated from the start. Also jarring are two sections set to recorded music, including one in which Ms. Pericet transforms herself into flirtatious girl with the help of an expansive red crinoline skirt. Plucking a rose from her bosom, she sticks it in her mouth and holds it like a cigar. Is she now Carmen? In the end, she tosses the flower to the crowd.

In other moments, Ms. Pericet’s costume changes bring more satisfying results. In one body-hugging dress, she manipulates a ruffled train with lithe grace. But the most memorable section highlights her spectacular agility with a fringe shawl, which she whips around her slim shoulders, whirls into sideways and even spins its ends like propellers. As costume dramas go, it’s a marvel.

“Olga Pericet: Flamenco Untitled” continues through Nov. 22 at Repertorio Español, 138 East 27th Street, Manhattan; 212-225-9999, repertorio.org.

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.nytimes.com

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