Review: Compañía Rocío Molina downright dazzles with “Fallen From Heaven (Caída del Cielo)”

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      By Howard Harowitz

      If you have tickets for one of the three remaining performances of Fallen From Heaven (Caída del Cielo), you’re in for a real treat. If not, well, my sincere condolences (and also, act fast: there are a few tickets left).

      Last night, Compañía Rocío Molina offered a sold-out theatre a 90-minute flamenco feast of both the expected and the unexpected.

      Traditionalists, loving the flamenco art form, were given plenty of moments to satisfy their appetite with this Canadian premiere, which was brought to the SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. But the real story here is the extent to which the performance also offered something for everyone—no matter their taste, or their understanding of flamenco.

      Rocío Molina, the solo dancer and creator of the Spanish dance company, provided a virtuoso performance of classic flamenco rhythms and styling, dazzling us with her technique and expressiveness—and making it all look rather effortless. Just as (seemingly) effortlessly, she often transitioned from flamenco to snippets of everything from jazz to contemporary, and just as seamlessly transitioned back again.

      Her musicality came to the forefront with every movement and freeze. Add moments of laugh-out-loud humour, borderline raunchiness, and at times almost innocent flirtatiousness, and you begin to get the full picture: something for everyone.

      Photo by Pablo Guidali.

      The visual smorgasbord was equally supported by a wide-ranging menu for the ears. Molina’s spectacular footwork was as entertaining to hear as it was to watch. Then there’s her vocalist, Kiko Peña. Let’s just say if he ever decided to go it alone, I would be at the front of the ticket line for his solo tour. Here again, the healthy offering of traditional music (vocals plus acoustic guitar and hand-clapping) was not the entire story. Enter two electric guitars and a full drum kit, bringing us interludes of rock, punk, and even heavy metal.

      For fear of spoiling it, I’ll refrain from saying too much about the costuming—but it, too, was varied and entertaining.

      If I had one niggle, it would be that the opening six minutes would benefit from some vigorous pruning. But in the grand scheme of things, truly a borderline-trivial issue.

      When you put it all together, each of the individual elements of the performance were impressive in their own right. And when you layer each of the elements on top of one another, you can understand why Fallen From Heaven (Caída del Cielo) was given a seven-minute standing ovation on opening night.

      Fallen From Heaven (Caída del Cielo)

      When: September 28 to 30

      Where: SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre

      Tickets: Available online