Edinburgh Fringe 2011
This is a workshop for children where they see an example of Flamenco and then through workshop, practice and performance they are able to experience this fantastic form of dance. Ole!
The structure of Flamenco for Kids begins with beautiful guitar playing. It is a joy to listen to if you are a little older than the kids for whom this is designed. What then follows is the dance by two skilled performers. Once again the length of it and the complexity of it – the slow build and release of such passion – has more resonance for an adult audience than the kids. Once the kids are up onstage the engagement becomes the key and each one was thrilled to learn, eager to entertain and delightful to watch. It ended with a performance from the two adult performers that was shorter than their first one but equally impressive. NOW the kids wanted to watch. I believe that swapping the two adult performances would enhance the performance/workshop.
The stage is simple and the bareness of it is enhanced through lighting. It is all that is required. The dresses for the little girls to wear are an integral part of the joy and fascination for the kids. It is an equal joy for their parents.
It has Flamenco of the highest quality and you become struck with the ideal of watching the beauty of the culture of another nation that can be left aside for the tourists when it is the storytelling equivalent of dancing Shakespeare. To promote the culture of your own nation may in itself be a worthy thing but it needs to be of the highest quality and be appreciated by the largest number. I felt we were treated to high quality fare but with a better way of working alongside the young kids would benefit the purpose so much more.
As such it did encourage my own daughter to participate and become wrapped in her involvement but the long term effects weren’t as assured as might have been hoped – there was no nagging for a dress or CD of music.
I really enjoyed this though the beginning of it had me worried as it was aimed high at the adults leaving the kids restless. As soon as they were allowed to come up onstage that restlessness was put to good use though it was a close call as the length of the initial dance was beginning to worry me as to whether the kids would be put off. Ultimately it didn’t but it could have been better.
I have thought hard about my overall impression of Flamenco for Kids was. As a piece of entertainment for kids – as it was billed – it was good. As an example of Flamenco it was great. The need to work on how to make a product for children makes it a 3 star for me but it has better star quality onstage for adults.