Tag Archives: Barnsdall Park

“Forever Flamenco” Review: Flamenco, like Krumping, is a Full Body and Soul Experience

by Jessica Koslow

Lakshmi Basile

Sitting a few rows back from the stage at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre watching the Fountain Theatre’s monthly showcase of “Forever Flamenco!” this past Sunday, I was reminded of krump dancing. Let me explain. Since September I have been attending a krump session — a circle of dancers who congregate every Wednesday at midnight in a parking lot in North Hollywood — observing a style of dance that has its roots in South Central Los Angeles. If you saw Dave LaChapelle’s 2005 documentary Rize, you know what I’m talking about. If not, what brought me back to the after-hours dancing at the parking lot was the foot stomping (obviously), but more overwhelmingly, the emotional release the dancers wear on their faces and exhibit in their movements.

Krump dancers in the documentary film, "Rize".

Without knowing much about flamenco, I have gleaned enough to offer that the histories of the people who created both art forms are similar in enough ways to inspire movement of such emotional magnitude. Both African Americans and Gypsies are historically oppressed groups of people who have expressed their experience via their bodies. Every foot slam, hand clap and outstretch of an arm delivers you to a different memory. The feelings that overcome you may not be the same ones the dancers express, but they serve the same purpose: They make you feel alive and connect you with humanity.

A flamenco show is an all-over-body experience. The dancers’ faces contort with feeling, their arms gracefully strike controlled poses in the air, and their feet pound the stage like tap dancers. Even the costumes — with ruffles, wraps, polka dots, lace, hot pink flowers and long trains — get in on the dramatic action. Illuminating it all is the music, which preceded the dance.

Singer Jesus Montoya’s classically scruffy, aching, heart-wrenching vocals powered the night of flamenco. Accompanied by guitarist Juan Antonio Gomez and percussionist Gerardo Morales, the trio had a jolly good time throughout the performances, laughing and calling out to the dancers and each other. It was almost as if Montoya were trying to get the dancers to crack a smile.

But that’s one of the beauties of a flamenco show — the audience and band interaction. (Another wonder is the constant hand clapping, which seems to be an unspoken code I can’t figure out.) Not only do the musicians yell out encouraging words (most often, “Olé!”); audience members yell out snippets in Spanish whenever it strikes their fancy. After an especially emotional stomp, or long and fast footwork set, the audience and musicians erupt with pleasure.

The climax of the night came after Lakshmi Basile finished her solo, “Fondo del Mar (Depth of the Ocean) Solea.” Her performance appeared cathartic — for her and the audience — as if there were no end to her emotional release, or ours. Just when you thought a flamenco dancer has finished a performance, they rev back up for a little bit more. Basile’s exertion was so complete, one of her clips went flying out of her hair. Olé!

Ricardo Chavez

While at times the Barnsdall Gallery stage was swirling with somber, it was mostly a festive atmosphere. Ricardo Chavez, the long male dancer, looked like he stepped out of the pages of GQ. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the woman sitting behind me takes his class in Santa Ana.

At the end of the night, the performers invited anyone who wished to come up on stage and dance in a circle they had formed. Much like the krump session I attend weekly, this is a space that encourages improvisation and freestyle, where the dancers share moves and challenge and inspire each other. I’ve seen this done at tap shows too, and this spirit exemplifies dance communities at their best.

For more information about the next “Forever Flamenco!” show, visit fountaintheatre.com.

Jessica Koslow writes for CultureSpotLA.com

Backstage at “Forever Flamenco” with Lakshmi Basile

Last night at Forever Flamenco, Lakshmi Basile and the stellar company of fabulous guest artists sizzled and soared at the 300-seat Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park. Lakshmi was joined by singer Jesus Montoya, guitarist Juan Antonio Gomez, percussionist Gerardo Morales, and fellow dancers Adriana Maresma Fois and Ricardo Chavez.

The large audience was loud, festive, and ready to party! They had a marvelous time, applauding wildly and shouting “Ole!” to the performers on stage throughout the swirling concert.

After the magic on stage, joyful celebration erupted back stage. Here’s a peak:

Lakshmi Basile

Dancer Ricardo Chavez and singer Jesus Montoya.

Dancer Adriana Maresma-Fois

Our next Forever Flamenco will be Sunday Feb 28 (323) 663-1525 Check our website for details.

The New Year Heats Up with Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi” in “Forever Flamenco” on Jan 8th

The 9th Smash Year of Forever Flamenco kicks off with a sizzling blaze as dancer Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi” ignites the Gallery Theatre at Barnsdall Park on January 8th at 8pm. Other artists starring with Lakshmi are singer Jesus Montoya, guitarist Juan Antonio Gomez, percussionist Gerardo Morales, and dancers Adriana Maresma Fois and Ricardo Chavez.

A dancer of emotion, inspiration and precision, Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi“ captivates her audience with a unique yet familiar flamenco art. In late 2010 she won the finalist prize in the National Contest of Flamenco Art of Cordoba (Concurso Nacional de Arte Flamenco de Córdoba), “the contest of the contests,” and second prize in the Concurso de las Minas de La Unión en 2011. This accomplishment, unprecedented in the history of flamenco, left a track of surprising reactions: “…un desgarrador homenaje a los románticos de lo jondo…” (“…a heartwrenching homage to the romantics of classic flamenco…”), Alberto Garcia Reyes, ABC.

Lakshmi Basile’s remarkable ascent is no surprise considering her childhood and family history. Both of her parents are freelance performing artists. She grew up immersed in ethnic music and dance and it was natural for her to discover a career in flamenco. With her background in flamenco, classical, and contemporary dance Lakshmi Basile moved to Spain in 2002 from San Diego, California. In Santa Barbara, California, she choreographed and headlined with companies like the Pacific Action Dance Company. In Spain she studied with various master teachers such as: Los Farrucos, Angelita Vargas and Andres Marin. Her ever growing popularity left an impressive trademark in venues such as La Carbonería, Los Gallos, La Feria de Abril and other flamenco tablaos and peñas. Renamed within flamenco circles as “La Chimi”, she debuted in the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, 2004.

Though residing principally in Sevilla, Spain, Lakshmi returned to the United States to create her own company,Luna Flamenca Dance Company; self-producing shows such as Flamenco en la cocina, in 2006, and Trois, in 2007. In Sevilla, José Tarriño, the flamenco fashion designer, choose her as his top model for his 2007 collection. In 2008 she had an effervescent year; she participated again in the Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, as a soloist in the series Peñas de Guardía. She appeared in the exposition for the famous photographer Ruvén Afanador. She performed in her first music video with the Lebanese director Rindala Kodeih, a piece which climbed to the top of the charts in Arabic-speaking countries. She was also elected to dance and close the performance at theConcurso Internacional de Cante de Puertollano 2008, where she performed for flamenco legends such as Carmen Linares and José de la Tomasa. In 2009 – 2010 Lakshmi continued to maintain her base in Seville, where she is sought out for in various venues such as the flamenco theater El Palacio Andaluz. There she is one of the featured star artists of the show, as well as with the seville-based group Sentir Flamenco, where she participated in the summer flamenco festival Noches en los Jardines de la Buhaira in 2010 and 2011. In the United States she produced the theater shows Claveles de Jerez and Flamencalicious presented in various cities within California.

An untiring worker, she continues to create dance in numerous forms; provoking “duende“(magic) with substantial mental and physical discipline. Her artistic versatility reaches all social orbits, from intimate gypsy flamenco parties, to professional theatres. She recently presented her first show in Spain, Zarabanda, and is foreseeing a 2012 tour.

Forever Flamenco Jan 8  (323) 663-1525  Get Tickets

Timo Nunez Heats Up “Forever Flamenco” on Nov 20

Timo Nunez

Hot-blooded flamenco dancer Timo Nunez sets the stage ablaze for Forever Flamenco on Sunday, November 20, at beautiful Barnsdall Park in Hollywood. The performance begins at 8pm.

Produced by Deborah Lawlor, Forever Flamenco is now in its 8th Smash Year and considered the most prestigious Flamenco series in Los Angeles. Now featured in the lovely 299-seat Gallery Theatre,  nestled on an enchanting hilltop overlooking the Hollywood Hills in Barnsdall Park, Forever Flamenco is the perfect destination for passionate Flamenco in a romantic setting.

Video Highlights of TIMO NUNEZ:

 Guitarist Antonio Triana has selected a line-up of local faves and special out-of-town guests for the November 20 concert.

Fanny Ara

The artists are: 

Dancers: Fanny Ara, Melissa Cruz, Timo Nuñez, Briseyda Zarate
Guitarists: Kai Narezo, Antonio Triana
Percussion: Joey Heredia
Singer: Jesus Montoya

Sunday, November 20 @ 8 pm

Gallery Theatre, Barnsdall Art Park
(323) 663-1525

More Info