I’ve been visiting The Fringe Festival regularly for about the last five years. Lately, I’ve been attempting to see a dozen or more show a year. I have various criteria for choosing what shows to see. My number criteria, however, is shows that are put on by people that I have a connection to. Lorca, by the Bolero Dance Theatre is one of those shows.
Bolero Dance Theatre is a Winnipeg dance troupe promoting traditional Spanish dance. Led by Pedro Aurelio, my connection to them is that they rent space at St. Philip’s, where I’m priest. They’ve been great tenants and always a pleasure to work with. Their presence at St. Philip’s has also introduced me to a really enjoyable dance company that I might never have heard of otherwise. When I found out they would be doing a show at The Fringe, I immediately put it on my list of shows to check out.
Lorca: Show Times
Lorca tells the story of Frederico Garcia Lorca, an early 20th century Spanish poet and political victim. Along with the arc of his life, the show focuses on his close relationship with the painter Salvador Dali. A relationship that waxed and waned over the years.
Along with biographical details the show is rich in imagery. To quote from the program.
In addition to his writings, Lorca was an artist and composed songs. He wove numerous recurring symbols throughout his works, many associated with death. The moon is one such symbol…These symbols appear throughout BCT’s production.
This allows the show to move beyond simple biography and helps to show the significance of Lorca as artist and national figure.
Set in six scenes, the show moves from Granada outwards and back to Granada. The dancing starts out bright and cheerful but becomes increasingly somber as the show progresses.
The company dances with great energy and precision. The soloists all performed well. One thing I found notable in the show was that the dancing featured a mixture of the traditional Spanish dancing and other more balletic work. This worked really well in the scenes involving the characters of Lorca and Dali. In addition to his dancing, company artistic director Aurelio offers brief bits of narration throughout the show that assist in propelling the plot along, while offering us some additional insight into Lorca.
One of the features I really enjoy in the Bolero Productions is the costumes. Lorca is no exception. There are four or five different costume changes in the show. These changes add to the visual delight of the dances. The costume design for Jousette Sancez’s Moon character is especially captivating.
With so many costume changes you might think that this would hinder the show’s continuity. Fortunately the audience is treated to several musical interludes that heighten the mood and drama of the show. The show features a quartet of musicians: Philippe Meunier, guitar; Jeff Kustiak, percussion; Howard Chan, keyboard; and Elena Infante, vocals. The excellent musicianship of these four keep you focused on the stage even when there is no action occurring.
If you are a fan of dance, you will definitely want to go see Lorca. If you are not a dance fan, I suggest you go, and let Bolero Dance Theatre change your mind.