DANCE / Fired by flamenco

CRISTINA HOYOS came to Sadler's Wells last week and exposed this country's best- kept secret - the British are mad about flamenco. The box office could have sold Ballet Cristina Hoyos twice over. What is remarkable is that Hoyos's company has not been to London before, although it has twice been to the Edinburgh Festival since 1988, when it was founded. Nor was Hoyos a frequent visitor to the capital in the 20 years she danced with the renowned Antonio Gades.

Not a gypsy herself, Hoyos has adapted and glamorised the fierce Andalusian dance, taking it out of clubs and putting it on stage in a spectacular show. In the process, she has provided Spain with an international cultural export: around the world, Hoyos is flamenco.

The programme begins with her showpiece solo in a striking red dress with a lavish train of frills. She is 47, squarish, intense, dark hair swept into a bun. Long arms snake above her head, hips swivel and sway while stamping feet deliver swift hammer blows. Energy is dispersed evenly so that the light upper body and grounded legs harmonise in a cohesive whole-body movement. Hoyos works so many nuances into flamenco's already complex rhythm that no two combinations look the same. Her speed, power and subtlety are mesmeric. Mercifully, after a showy first number, she puts her castanets away. They interfere with the music (three guitarists and three male singers) and restrict her fluid fingers.

The high energy is sustained throughout the programme, dipping only now and again when the music veers from the traditional. The male dancers in their Cuban heels stamp so fast that their feet hardly touch the ground. They spin in near-balletic turns and look particularly airy when dancing with Hoyos, whose power offsets their lightness. The four other women, steeped in Hoyos's style, could be soloists in their own right.

Flamenco is largely melancholic, the words of the music telling of blood feuds, death, the Virgin Mary. But it has its light-hearted side. Hoyos is mostly more serious than tragic, and she holds a rip-roaring party as an encore, with musicians and dancers gathering at the front of the stage, taking turns to entertain the group. A portly singer is a star turn, sending up the dance with his own bum-wiggling version.

From flamenco to fiasco. Laid Out Lovely (a rotting romance) is Emilyn Claid's coarse look at the beauty of death. A former ballerina, Claid rebelled against ballet's aristocratic conventions in the late Sixties to pioneer the new dance movement in this country. After a period as a dance administrator and choreographer, she has returned to performance, notably with last year's piquant

Virginia Minx at Play.

In her latest piece, she puts a bullet in ballet once more as an ageing, gin-soaked prima ballerina whose bottle of spirits is willing but whose flesh is weak. The potential of this is never developed. The cast is chosen for its versatility rather than virtuosity, but no amount of flexibility puts meat on these skeletal ideas. At one point, Claid and two others indulge in 50 ritualistic ways to leave your life, just as I was thinking of 50 ways to leave my seat.

Although dance is mainly identified with women, most choreographers are men. Claid feels this gives women no chance to express their sexuality, so it is surprising that she did not seize the opportunity to say something new. Gay sex on stage is neither novel nor shocking; simply presenting nudity and homo-eroticism is not enough, particularly in a week when The Late Show broadcast a feature on how gay culture has entered the mainstream.

Claid's macabre vignettes include a drop-dead jogger, maggots fornicating on a coffin and a funeral at which tears turn into convulsive laughter. When she looks back on Laid Out Lovely she may realise how close she came to dancing on her own artistic grave.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing