The hottest flamenco is at the Fountain! With only 80 seats in four rows, the Fountain Theatre is the perfect venue. Each performance features a roster of world-class Flamenco dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of Flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain. This month’s line-up, under the artistic direction of guitarist Gabriel Osuna, includes Fanny Ara from San Francisco and Elena Osuna from Albuquerque, as well as Matthew Amper on piano, a unique addition under Osuna’s direction.
The Company of Artists: Artistic Director/Guitarist: Gabriel Osuna Dancers: Fanny Ara, Manuel Gutierrez, Elena Osuna Singer: José Cortes Pianist: Matthew Amper Percussionist: Gerardo Morales
Founded and produced by Deborah Lawlor, Forever Flamenco is now enjoying its 13th sold-out year at our intimate Fountain Theatre. Stage and Cinema recently hailed it as “an assemblage of the greatest flamenco artists anywhere.”
Forever Flamenco Sunday, Feb 16 8pm (323) 663-1525MORE
Forever Flamenco! presents an All-Star Flamenco Weekend: Antonio Triana and Company on Jan. 17 and 18, featuring magnificent singer José Cortés (from Spain) and mesmerizing dancer Fanny Ara (born in France, trained in Spain); and Lakshmi Basileand Company on Jan. 19, featuring two guest artists – guitarist Pedro Cortés and percussionist and festero Luis de la Tota, who brings joy and fun to every show he’s in.
With only 80 seats in four rows, The Fountain Theatre is the perfect place to view Flamenco. Each show features a roster of world-class Flamenco dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of Flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain.
Friday, Jan. 17 at 8 pm and Saturday, Jan. 18 at 8 pm
Antonio Triana and Company
Guitarristas (Guitarists) – Gabriel Osuna, Antonio Triana
Cantaores (Singers) – José Cortés, Antonio de Jerez
Bailaores (Dancers) – Vanessa Albalos, Fanny Ara, Manuel Gutierrez
Sunday, Jan. 19 at 8 pm
Lakshmi Basile and Company
Guitarrista (Guitarist) – Pedro Cortés
Cantaor (Singer) – Jesus Montoya
Palmero/Cajonero (Percussionist) – Luis de la Tota
While classic and modern dance seem to be continually reinventing themselves, Flamenco remains a bedrock of the moving arts. As Forever Flamenco! at the Ford proved last Saturday, age and body type have nothing to do with the soulful expressiveness inherent in this traditional dance form.
There are many forms of dance and song that emerged as a celebration of life amidst human suffering, but surely Flamenco thrillingly stands out as an example of such an art form. There are moments in the music that clearly reflect Indian, Islamic and Moorish influence. Some Flamenco music styles (palos) have been attributed to Jewish influences, as the Jews were firmly ensconced in Iberia since Roman times. And Andalusia, home to Flamenco, is in the south of the Iberian Peninsula.
“But who wants a history lesson?” asked Artistic Director Maria Bermúdez to the sold out crowd at the Ford Amphitheater. This evening was about celebrating Flamenco and to honor Deborah Lawlor, founder of the Fountain Theatre, where Forever Flamenco! plays once a month. Bermúdez, who has an uncanny ability to gather unparalleled artists, presented a line-up of local, national and international artists for a sexy and captivating evening.
The explosive energy created by dancer Timo Nuñez at the start was, as they say, a hard act to follow. In his shiny red shoes, this tall and elegant artist began casually, but soon offered dynamic footwork that sounded like firecrackers. Then he would do a studly stroll, allowing the dance to breathe, often lifting his shirt to show a bit of skin. Sometimes, this graceful storyteller of dance stared at us as an egret looks for a fish in a lake. Although I don’t remember ever seeing such a hunky egret.
Equally thrilling was Manuel Gutierrez, who opened the second act and emulated a bullfighter. He wasn’t showing off, yet he displayed a crackling tap and pedal pyrotechnics the likes of which confirmed why Flamenco is so compelling. So fiery and passionate was Gutierrez that my companion said afterwards, “That’s it. I’m booking us on the next flight to Seville.”
The ridiculously sexy and sensuous Fanny Ara (think Salma Hayek) offered us a dance which was defiant, seductive, searching and scorching hot – and WAY too short. Mizuho Sato was another classic beauty who I wish had more stage time. All of the guitarists, whether jazzy or classical, were some of the best I have ever heard. Jason McGuire accompanied Ms. Ara with smoldering fast fingerwork that was a brilliant combination of new age work, á la William Ackerman, and traditional Flamenco. I can’t believe all of that music came out of one guitar. Likewise Jose Tanaka, who overlayed his work with a soulful yearning and accessible dissonance. The other guitarists – Antonio Triana, Ben Woods and Adam del Monte – were ably accompanied by the extraordinary percussionist Joey Heredia.
Alejandro Granados was a man drunk with life and passion. Somewhat nattily dressed in red pants, Granados looked like he could be a seaside merchant or a pawn shop owner. But looks and age have nothing to do with the spirit of Flamenco. Audience members actually began to shout as this older gentleman executed a timeless combination of dance artistry and comedic storytelling, giving us more character than an O’Neill drama.
It may be politically incorrect to mention a woman’s age or body type, but whether we are supposed to say Rubenesque, full-figured or otherwise, there were some women on stage whose magnificence proved that anyone can master Flamenco. Lourdes Rodriguez, with spangles around her waist, brought whimsy, silliness and celebration to her dance (she was the one I most wanted to run up on stage to dance with). Linda Vega’s work was so admirable that I was shocked to discover that this was Ms. Vega after knee surgery. Well done! Most impressive was Yaelisa, a middle-aged woman who proved that time cannot quell the fiery gipsy spirit. This seasoned performer with amazing rhythm was humorous, expressive, joyful and reflective, vacillating from a spunky spirit to a trance-like seduction.
The vocalists were no ordinary singers; to the untrained ear, it may seem like they are struggling to hold a note, but that wailing and fluttering is the evolved style of the suffering gipsy, and, at times, sounded eerily like the plaintive yowling of nomadic Native American tribes or the spiritual yearnings of Jewish Sephardic music. Our powerful singers were Jose Cortes, Ana de los Reyes, Pelé de los Reyes and Ismael de la Rosa.
In some of the group numbers, it was difficult to ascertain what was choreographed and what was spontaneous, but all of these impeccable artists worked together seamlessly, occasionally eyeing each other’s body parts (feet, hands, hips, eyes) as they performed with rhythmic intention – no differently than the most passionate lover looks upon a paramour during sex.¿Hace calor aqui? I would have preferred a stronger finish in some of the sets, as dancers just casually strolled away. But come to think of it, I’ve had some lovers do that, too.
The free-for-all in the finale included one of the most captivating moments captured on stage when four young girls executed some flawless dancing in colorful Flamenco flocked skirts. These artists who promise to bring Flamenco into the future were more than adorable – they were breathtaking and inspiring. Then again, so was the entire evening.
One of L.A.’s most accomplished arts impresarios will float in flamenco heaven this Saturday night when her helming of her 20-year-running series “Forever Flamenco!” will be honored in an all-star performance at the Ford Theatre.
Deborah Lawlor, southern California’s key importer of the gypsy art form, will take a rare turn as spectator, and not producer, when her favorite flamenco artists — dancers and musicians — hot up the outdoor amphitheater’s nippy night air.
Concurrent to this tribute, a moving and well-crafted flamenco-themed play, “Heart Song,” is enjoying one-month run at The Fountain Theatre, the wonderfully funky East Hollywood house where Lawlor launched “Forever Flamenco!”
The recognition must be gratifying for Lawlor, whose dance journey began during her Riverside childhood. The self-described “flamenco nut” was raised in a dance-friendly family (her aunt Olga Hammond was an early modern dancer). Her arts-loving mom organized frequent performance forays into L.A.
One memorable outing was to see Jose Greco at the Wilshire Ebell Theater.
“I was a little bit bored by him,” Lawlor admits. “He stood in one place and did footwork. The intimate atmosphere was lost in the big theater with shows like his.”
Years later, Lawlor, sophisticated after pursuit of a flamenco education, explains, “There’s the virtuosity and there’s the meaning. You can get bored by pure virtuosity. I learned that flamenco is the play of rhythm and contre-tiempos, the palmas [hand claps]. There is a whole world of rhythmic stuff going on. If you are just watching a dancer stomp his feet, you can be bored. The more musical background you have the more you can enjoy it.”
A multilingual world traveler who has lived and studied abroad, journeying between India, Australia, Egypt and France, Lawlor notes: “Flamenco is a kind of inward expression; to project it out is a different feel. ‘Cause the songs themselves can be very intimate, some very dark, about death, but you have to kind of go with the lighter aspects of flamenco, the joyous songs as well as the tragic ones.
“Of course, I love it a lot. The more you get into it, the more it opens up to you.”
Saturday night Lawlor will be surrounded by the international band of gypsies she has cultivated and promoted, a group of singers and dancers cherry-picked from Europe and from the flamenco communities of San Francisco and Phoenix.
One of her prime protégées, the acclaimed dancer Maria Bermudez, is producing the show in honor of Lawlor’s huge achievement.
“Forever Flamenco! was born of Deborah’s love and total immersion into flamenco,” says Bermudez. “Young dancers, up-and-coming dancers, seasoned professionals and international dancers – all of us have all come through Forever Flamenco! at the Fountain. I took my first baby steps there.”
Bermudez, considered to be one of the foremost international flamenco artists in the world today, resides in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the “birthplace” of flamenco. She was the model for one of the lead characters of “Heart Song,” a role she has played for the past few weeks.
“Forever Flamenco!” at the Ford dancers will include Roberto Amaral, Fanny Ara, Maria Bermudez, Alejandro Granados (Spain), Manuel Gutierrrez, Timo Nuñez, Linda Vega and Yaelisa; singers José Cortes, Ana de los Reyes (Spain) and Ismael de la Rosa (from Spain); singer/composer Pele de los Reyes (Spain) of the Grammy®-nominated group Navajita Platea; guitarists Adam del Monte, Jason McGuire, José Tanaka, Antonio Triana; and percussionist Joey Heredia.
Lawlor loves “Heart Song” a drama written by her longtime Fountain Theater co-artistic director Stephen Sachs. She says, “It’s just lovely, it’s wonderful.”
“Heart Song” at the Fountain Theatre
“Heart Song is a joy. It’s all woman cast, and the crew is all women. It has the aspect of flamenco but it also a mother-daughter drama about a Jewish woman who didn’t realize her mother had been in the [concentration] camp; she never spoke about her childhood. Anybody can relate to that.”
The sure-to-be-sizzling Ford flamenco program and the well staged and performed “Heart Song” are both recommended. We especially love the Ford’s historic Cahuenga Pass setting, a stellar venue for a pre-performance urban picnics.
The Fountain Theatre presents an all-star line-up of local, national and international flamenco artists to celebrate Forever Flamenco! founder Deborah Lawlor’s 20-year dedication to producing, nurturing and broadening the art form in Los Angeles. Forever Flamenco!at the Ford, under the artistic direction of internationally renowned flamenco dancer Maria Bermudez, takes place on Saturday, June 15 at 8:30 pm at the Ford Theatresin Hollywood.
Since 1990, the dancers, musicians and singers ofForever Flamenco! have been delighting Fountain Theatre audiences with the intensity, precision and exhilaration for which flamenco is known. NowForever Flamenco! returns to the outdoor stage at the Ford Theatres with this passionate expression of Spanish culture in a tribute to Lawlor.
“Forever Flamenco! was born out of Deborah’s love and total immersion into flamenco,” says Bermudez. “Young dancers, up-and-coming dancers, seasoned professionals and international dancers – all of us have all come through Forever Flamenco! at the Fountain. I took my first baby steps there.”
Forever Flamenco! at the Ford will be a once-in-a-lifetime gala event gathering some of flamenco’s finest artists together on stage for the first time, including dancers Fanny Ara, Lakshmi Basile, Maria Bermudez, Alejandro Granados (from Spain), Manuel Gutierrrez, Timo Nuñez,Linda Vega and Yaelisa; singer/dancer Roberto Amaral; singers José Cortez, Ana de los Reyes (from Spain) and Jesus Montoya; singer/composer Pele de los Reyes (from Spain) of the Grammy®-nominated group Navajita Platea; guitarists Adam del Monte, Jason Maguire, Antonio Triana and Ben Woods; and percussionist Joey Heredia. Watch for more surprise artists, as well as a few guests from Bermudez’ flamenco puro company Sonidos Gitanos, which has been presented at the Ford by Lawlor and the Fountain eight times since 1995.
Deborah Lawlor’s Forever Flamenco! series plays monthly to enthusiastic crowds at the Fountain Theatre. She and the Fountain have presented Bermudez and her Sonidos Gitanos/Gypsy Flamenco Company from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, for eight summer engagements at the Ford – including, in 2010, its new off-shoot, The Chicana Gypsy Project – and in 2007 at the Japan American Theatre. The 2009 Ford season included Forever Flamenco!: LA Olé featuring an all-star cast assembled fromForever Flamenco! at the Fountain. Lawlor began her career as a dancer, choreographer and actor in New York’s “downtown” scene. After living in South India for five years, where she was involved in the initial development of the international township of Auroville, she created two full-length outdoor dance/theater pieces celebrating the community. She spent the next 10 years in Australia and France studying ancient cultures of India and Egypt and translating several books in these fields from French into English. Returning to the U.S. in 1986, she became deeply involved in the intimate theater scene and, in 1990, she and Stephen Sachs co-founded the Fountain Theatre, which is now in its 23rd season of theatrical and dance events. Lawlor is responsible for the Fountain’s extensive dance involvement. The 1995 season included The Women of Guernica, Lawlor’s flamenco-based adaptation of Euripides’ The Trojan Women, which she also directed. She directed two one-act plays by Tennessee Williams and created and directed three full-evening dance-theater pieces for the Fountain:Declarations: Love Letters of the Great Romantics; The Path of Love, which she also directed in South India; and the dance opera, The Song of Songs, with music by Al Carmines. Actors Equity Association honored Lawlor with its Diversity Award, for her dedication to presenting work at the Fountain that is culturally diverse.
Considered to be one of the foremost international flamenco artists in the world today, Bermudez resides in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, the “birthplace” of flamenco. There, she has worked with renowned artists such as Juana del Pipa, Andres Peña, Antonio El Pipa, Alejandro Granados, Navajita Platea, El Capullo and many others. She was honored by the artists of the city for her relentless dedication in exposing the artistry of this region. Bermudez’ outstanding and critically acclaimed performances include the Hollywood Bowl, Ford Amphitheatre, Fountain Theater and the Music Center in Los Angeles; Central Park, Lincoln Center and the Joyce Theater in New York City; the Teatro Palácio das Artes in Brazil; Peña Cernicalos, Los Gallos and Teatro Lope de Vega and Festival de Jerez in Spain; guest appearances with the Santa Cecilia California; and numerous venues throughout the world. Most recently she formed Chicana Gypsy Project which draws on her Mexican-American heritage and her immersion into Adulucian Gypsy culture. Her life and career have inspired the award-winning documentary film, Streets of Flamenco.
Forever Flamenco! at the Ford takes place on Saturday, June 15. Doors open for picnicking at 6:30 pm and the show starts at 8:30 pm. Reserved seating is $50 and $75.Purchase tickets on or before June 8 and save $5. Tickets are available at www.FordTheatres.org or 323 461-3673 (for non-visual media 323 GO 1-FORD).
We are holding 100 of the BEST SEATS— center section, down front, up close and personal — and are offering them only to you, our private Fountain VIP patrons. These prime seats are not available to the public. With these VIP tickets you get:
The best seats in the house: down front, up close, center section
Exclusive VIP pass to the private pre-show catered party with the artists
Festive hand-crafted gift bag with free flamenco swag
These prime VIP TICKETS are only available through the Fountain Theatre!Order Now! Or call the Fountain box office (323) 663-1525.
Hailed as “LA’s most significant venue for flamenco” by LA Weekly, the Fountain Theatre returns to the Ford stage after a two year absence, bringing the finest local, national and international flamenco artists to celebrate this passionate expression of Spanish culture. Forever Flamenco’s dancers, musicians and singers have been delighting audiences for years with the intensity, precision and exhilaration for which flamenco is known. This year’s show pays tribute to the founder of the Fountain’s flamenco program, Deborah Lawlor, a Los Angeles icon and ardent supporter of the art form for more than two decades.
“Forever Flamenco was born out of Deborah’s love and total immersion into Flamenco,” says Maria Bermudez. “Young dancers, up-and-coming dancers have been given opportunities, as well as seasoned professionals and international dancers, have all come through Forever Flamenco at the Fountain. Me being one of them. I had my first baby steps there. I have to say, the Fountain has been one of my most cherished performance spaces for Flamenco.”
Forever Flamenco at the Ford will be a once-in-a-lifetime gala event gathering some of the finest international, national and local flamenco artists together on stage for the first time. Artists include Jesus Alvarez, Roberto Amaral, Fanny Ara, Lakshmi Basille, Maria Bermudez, Jose Cortes, Adam Del Monte, Manuel Guiterez, Jason MacGuire, Jesus Montoya, Timo Nunez, Domingo Ortega, Jose Tanaka, Antonio Triana, Linda Vega, Ben Woods, Yaelisa and more (lineup subject to change).
Behind-the-Scenes with Maria Bermudez
Forever Flamenco at the Ford Sat June 15 (323) 461-3673MORE
“L.A.’s most significant venue for flamenco.”- LA Weekly
“Being the sensual, intimate art form that it is, the way you feel after a Forever Flamenco performance is pretty darn fabulous.” — L.A. Splash
Forever Flamenco, an L.A. Weekly “Pick of the Week”, continues its long and successful run (9th Smash Year!) at the Fountain Theatre. This sensual art form tells stories of love and loss, happiness and longing, and the intimate 78-seat setting of the Fountain Theatre is the perfect place to see the art of flamenco as it is meant to be experienced. A rotating series of directors and a cast of L.A.’s top flamenco singers, dancers and guitarists combine precise choreography with spontaneous exploration to create an electrifying show that is a completely new experience each performance.
The Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed series presents dancers Fanny Ara, Melissa Cruz and Manuel Gutierrez, with artistic director Antonio Triana and special guestKai Narezo on guitar, percussionist Joey Heredia, and Gypsy cantaor (singer) José Cortes. With only 78 seats in four rows, the Fountain is the perfect place to view flamenco. Each show features a roster of world-class dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain.
The September edition of the Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed series offers a rare flamenco performance, pairing pianist Matt Amper with Gerardo Morales on guitar and percussion; guitarist Gabriel Osuna; singer José Cortes; and dancers Vanessa Acosta, “La Pamela” (Pamela Lourant) and Oscar Valero. With only 78 seats in four rows, the Fountain is the perfect place to view flamenco. Each show features a roster of world-class dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain.
Now in its 9th smash year, Forever Flamenco was created by Fountain producing Director Deborah Lawlor.
“The Fountain has certainly cemented its stature as L.A.’s most significant venue for flamenco.”– LA Weekly
Artistic Director: Gerardo Morales
Dancers: Vanessa Acosta, “La Pamela” (Pamela Lourant),Oscar Valero
Singer: José Cortes
Guitarist: Gerardo Morales, Gabriel Osuna
Percussion: Gerardo Morales
Piano: Matthew Amper
Presented by Deborah Lawlor and The Fountain Theatre
Los Angeles, Calif. – June 18, 2012 — The Fountain Theatre’s acclaimed Forever Flamenco! series returns home to the intimate, 78-seat Fountain TheatreSunday, July 15@ 8 pm.
The line-up includes guest dancer Christina Hall; dancers Arleen Hurtado and Oscar Valero; singer
José Cortes “El Muleto”; guest guitarist Benjamin Woods; percussionist Joey Heredia; and guitarist/artistic director Antonio Triana.
Created and produced by co-artistic director Deborah Lawlor, The Fountain Theatre’s Forever Flamenco! series is now in its 9th smash year. Each performance features a roster of world-class flamenco dancers, singers and musicians drawn from the rich pool of flamenco artists in Southern California, with additional guest artists brought from San Francisco, Albuquerque and Spain. Named “L.A.’s most significant venue for flamenco” by the LA Weekly, the Fountain, with only 78 seats in 4 rows, is the perfect setting in which to enjoy the art form up close,.
“Antonio Triana has put together an exquisite line-up for the 15th,” says Lawlor. “Singer José Cortes comes from a Gypsy family in Southern Spain—he’s an extraordinary singer, with a gorgeous rich tone, who excels in the soleares and the bulerías styles of flamenco. Cristina Hall is a lovely dancer, graceful and feminine, who has just returned to the U.S. from an extensive stay in Spain. Joey Heredia is a master jazz percussionist who discovered flamenco a few years ago, and is now dedicating much of his talent, time and joy to enriching the percussive element of flamenco.”
“Forever Flamenco!” takes place on Sunday, July 15@ 8 pm. All tickets are $40. The Fountain Theatre is located at 5060 Fountain Avenue (at Normandie) in Los Angeles. Secure, on-site parking is available for $5. The Fountain Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call 323 663-1525 or go to www.FountainTheatre.com.