Moj?car at The Madrid

Flamenco-jazz ballet based on the music of Manuel De Falla, Dec. 2 & 3

By Stephen Dick
Published on LatinoLA: October 25, 2006

Moj?car at The Madrid

Moj?car Flamenco will present the premiere of "Cantan Los Fuegos," a flamenco-jazz ballet based on the music of Spanish composer Manuel De Falla at the Madrid Theatre in Canoga Park, December 2nd and 3rd. The centerpiece of a concert of flamenco jazz entitled "Moj?car at the Madrid," this work embodies everything that makes Moj?car L.A.'s most innovative flamenco company.

"We blend traditional flamenco forms with Latin jazz rhythms and modern dance to transform Falla's music," explains Stephen Dick, Moj?car's composer and co-founder. "'Escena' is recast as a Grana'ina, the dark fandango from Granada; the love duet from the 'Pantomina' is performed as a Habanera; 'Danza ritual del fuego' and 'Canci?n del fuego fatuo' are now a jazz 5/4. Each of Falla's beautiful themes takes us in a new direction."

"Reshaping Falla's music has meant reshaping the underlying story as well," explains Katerina Tom?s, Mojacar's choreographer and co-founder. "Instead of a story of betrayal and a ghost lover, we tell the story of a man transformed by love."

Cantan Los Fuegos is just one part of MOJ?CAR AT THE MADRID. Pieces like "Montungo," which blends a flamenco tango with a montuno, or "Felag Mengu," which layers flamenco and North African rhythms, look like flamenco but sound like Latin Jazz. "As a musician, I connect to flamenco dance as a rhythm instrument," Stephen explains. "Since Katerina and I started Moj?car Flamenco ten years ago, we've always created music in which the dancer is another instrument in the ensemble.

The concert also features traditional flamenco forms in the contemporary style. "The kind of work we're doing, exploring flamenco through other forms, is very much a part of what's going on in Spain right now" explains Katerina. "This is why the Spanish Ministry of Culture gave us a generous grant to support the creation of Cantan Los Fuegos through their Program for Cultural Cooperation between the Spanish Ministry of Culture and U.S. Universities. Contemporary Spanish flamenco combines a deep grounding in traditional flamenco with an exploration of other forms and styles. The dynamic between these two approaches to flamenco is what drives our work."

Guitarist/composer Stephen Dick and dancer/choreographer Katerina Tom?s formed Moj?car Flamenco in 1996 at an artists' retreat in Moj?car, a village in Southern Spain. There, Stephen composed a series of pieces combining flamenco and Latin Jazz, music that became Moj?car's core repertoire. Since then, Stephen and Katerina have toured the U.S. and Canada with Concrete Blonde, won further awards from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, performed on Spanish television, and earned numerous grants and awards for the art they create together.

Stephen's music reflects both his training as a composer at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and the hours he spent studying flamenco guitar in the caves of Granada. "I'm constantly amazed at the places music takes me." says Stephen. "Everywhere I go, I seem to find artists willing to try new ideas. You can hear it on our latest CD, "Al Que Quiere," where Katerina and I worked with a Latin percussionist, Johnny Sandoval, and a Brazilian Jazz bassist, Paulo Gustavo, to make some really driving flamenco jazz."

Katerina's choreography blends the grace and complexity of modern dance with the percussive power of flamenco. "I may be the only dancer to have worked both with Lucas Hoving, Jos? Lim?n's partner, and Joaquin Grilo, Paco de Lucia's featured dancer," explains Katerina. "As a choreographer, I often find myself teaching footwork to modern dancers and movement to flamenco dancers. For this production, I've found five young dancers able to work well in either style." Katerina earned the L.A. Treasures Award for her choreography for Moj?car's 2004 show at the Madrid Theatre. "For that production, I created Romance Sonambulo, a modern piece with elements of flamenco, and a series of contemporary flamenco pieces. This time, all the elements, flamenco, modern, Jazz, and even Rock are blended together into a unified style of movement."

When: December 2nd 8:00 PM, December 3rd 2:00 PM
Where: Madrid Theatre, 21622 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA
Who: Moj?car Flamenco
How Much: $25, $30, $35 (Student and senior discounts available)
To buy tickets: (818) 347-9419 or at the Madrid Theatre Box Office
Contact: Stephen Dick or Katerina Tom?s (626) 403-7489
Website: www.mojacarflamenco.com

About Stephen Dick:
Stephen Dick, Flamenco guitarist, composer and bandleader.

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