Flamenco celebrations incorporate song and dance

David Barkschat

As the stage lights darkened to vibrant mysterious blues and rich red hues, a hush fell over the McKinney Theatre as the audience became entranced by the visual and musical wonders of “Una Noche De Flamenco” on Jan. 19.

Guitarist Jason “El Rubio” McGuire, singer Jesus Montoya, and dancers Yaelisa and Melissa Cruz joined together as the Caminos Flamencos, and enthralled and awed those in attendance with exotic melodies and fiery dancing.

The performance opened up with “Taranta,” a marvelously quick paced composition, which started out slowly but developed into a flurry of loud compelling vocals, gripping guitar and passionate flamenco dancing.

This piece was the highlight of the first half. The lighting design complemented the work, dimming the lights to a deeper blue and in which all four performers played equal parts.

The audience marveled at the intricately complex hand and arm movements of Melissa Cruz, and cheered her fervent and lively dancing. The harsh sounds of prancing feet across the stage harmonized perfectly with the guitar of McGuire and singing and clapping of Yaelisa and Montoya.

The effect was stunning, breathtaking and artistically seductive.

The electrifying action of “Tangos” cooled down for a time with “Alegrias,” an enchanting piece that broke through the temporary silence between compositions with the loud tones of Montoya’s rich Spanish vocals.

Though Montoya’s words may have been sung in a language not all of the audience members could understand, his soulful lyrics and presence could be clearly felt throughout the theatre.

The tempo of the singing increased steadily during “Alegrias” and then once again opened up in full force, while the guitar matched note for note with amazing skill.

Yaelisa and Cruz again accompanied with dancing and their cultural Flamenco dresses twirled and flowed about their rapidly moving legs and feet in a simple, yet elegantly compelling manner.

The Mc Kinney Theatre exploded into a roar of cheers and shouts at the end of the show, and it is clear that another performance at Saddleback with “El Rubio” and friends would be warmly received.