Being domestic in Jerez

Our report for Wednesday and Thursday may seem to be lacking in excitement, but they were the kind of days we like in Jerez.

After all the activities associated with Yjastros since last Friday, it was much quieter Wednesday morning. As Patricia said, we had time to make the apartment “our own.” Patricia rearranged things in the kitchen and began a list of things she would like the host to attend to before we come back to Jerez. Then, around noon we finally made it outside. We had planned a leisurely lunch at Albores. On our somewhat meandering way to the restaurant we came across Marisol, Eva and Annie, who were having a late morning snack at one of the many outdoor cafés along Calle Larga. We ultimately made our way to our restaurant where we sat outside in the sun and had an enjoyable lunch that lasted a couple of hours.

Shōji Kojima and company

You can understand why we might have been exhausted with everything we had already packed into the day. But after a short rest we were prepared to attend our two evening performances. We walked to Atalaya and saw an extraordinary performance by Shōji Kojima and company. Shōji Kojima is 83 years old and is credited with popularizing flamenco in Japan. He is a true presence on the stage. He appears composed, but dances with passion. the rest of the company, about 6 people, were really well integrated. I think that what I mean by that is that the choreography and music (which may be part of the choreography) were in complete harmony, but without feeling mechanical. This was a performance, called “toda una vida” (“a lifetime), that I wish I could see again to better understand why it was so good.

After that performance we went to Villamarta to see Lucía Álverez “La Piñona” in a show called “Insaciable”. I don’t know that I could give a meaningful synopsis of the show, but I can report that the performers were outstanding. I think I would sometimes be better off nor reading the synopsis or artist’s notes before the production–especially since Spanish artistic constructions almost always escape me–and form my own oipnion about what I have seen and THEN read about what the artist’s idea was.

Thursday also had a domestic component. We needed to do some laundry. The apartment has a washing machine, but using a washing machine in Spain has always had a small element of risk. For one thing, there is never a manual. For another, the markings on the dial for time, temperature, etc. seem to have nothing to do with what the water temperature is or how long a cycle will last, and on/off always seems to require multiple steps. We once accidentally started a cycle that took more than 3 hours because we could not figure out how to stop it. In this case, we figured how to use the detergent/softener capsule and our clothes came out cleaner and unharmed.

We ate lunch in the apartment after a trip to the supermercado. We probably now have enough food to last until April, but we are leaving in just a few days. Since we were planning on 3 performances Thursday evening, it seemed prudent to take a rest.

Our first performance was at Atalaya where we saw Venero (Venerate) by Águeda Saavedra. I was a little unsure about this show at its beginning because of the way it began. She appeared to by clawing her way out of a tomb and crawling on the stage. But after that, it was more than an hour if just great dance and cante. As an aside I should say that the cante this year seems better than ever at every performance. The performance won loud and long applause. An interesting feature of the performance was that all of her costume changes were done on-stage.

Eduardo Guerrero and (I think) Maria Terremoto

At Villamarta we saw the premier Eduardo Guerrero’s “Bailar no es sólo bailar” (Dancing is not just dancing). Our experience with Guerrero is that he can be avant-garde. Sometimes a little too avant. He is an amazing dancer who, to my mind, cannot be classified as simply a flamenco dancer. He is that, of course, but there is also ballet and something that is a mixture of multiple styles, He dances strongly, but with deep emotion. THe stage setting was interesting with ropes and lights defining edges / boundaries. More excellent cante and guitar. We were very enthusiastic about this show and I think the rest of the audience was also.

We chose not to go to the 11:00 pm show. Instead, we brought ice cream back to the apartment and had a relatively early night.

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