A meeting of old friends: Ana Morales and David Coria in Reunión

Patrick Centre at the Birmingham Hippodrome
May 10, 2017

David Mead

Reunión, featuring dancers Ana Morales and David Coria along with singers Miguel Ortega and Juan Jose Amador, guitarist Miguel Angel Cortes and percussionist Daniel Suárez, feels just like that: a gathering of old friends who remember moments from the past. As they do so, they take us on a journey through many moods and flamenco’s range of rhythmic styles, each dance bringing something new and different to the stage.

Right from the opening moments when Morales walks slowly onto the stage in silence, both she and Coria draw you in. Both are extraordinary dancers with a strong presence. In the opening dance especially, her arms and wrists are so expressive, moving with great fluidity and grace.

There’s plenty of feeling and rhythm from both of them but it is he that produces the memorable fireworks: footwork that’s so fast you wonder how he does it, and lightning fast spins. In amongst all that, there are quieter moments of grace and subtlety too, times when the dance seems to pause for a moment, allowing the dancers and us to breathe. Morales and Coria also take a couple of breaks to allow Ortega and Amador, and Suárez, their own moments in the spotlight; and deserved they are too.

The outstanding dance and music are all bathed in a wonderful air of informality, the performers making use of a sofa and easy chair when not involved in the main action. So often that action feels like a conversation, between Morales and Coria, between them and the singers and musicians, and between the singers themselves.

Rhythms are desperately important in flamenco, and here they are infectious, reaching out and grabbing you. More than once I found myself silently foot tapping along.

There’s some neat use of props including a huge golden cloth that Coria uses to pull Morales along, and as a huge shawl wrapping them together. When the dancers swirl it, it takes on the appearance of huge bird wings. Coria turns out to be a dab hand with the fan too, framing Morales’ face with it in a sensual duet.

It ends as it begins. The other performers drift away into the haze, leaving Morales slowly walking alone on stage, although now a stage full of memories.

Running time: 85 mins

Reunión continues on tour to The Lowry, Salford (May 12); Deda, Derby (May 13); Lakeside Arts, Nottingham (May 16); and Pavilion Dance, Bournemouth (May 17). Visit www.flamenco-edition.com for details.