At Resturante Pomo in Sanlúcar on Andalucia Day

It happens at least once every festival: we see a performance which doesn’t resonate with us at all. But more about that later.

Today was Andalucia Day (Día de Andalucía) on which the Andalusian electorate voted for the statute that made Andalusia an autonomous community of Spain (Wikipedia). A big holiday, in other words. School will be out all week and many businesses close for the holiday. Our friends Pedro and Antonio invited us to lunch with them in Sanlúcar de Barrameda. Sanlúcar is about 20km (12.5 miles) from Jerez, so it was a short drive. The countryside is gently rolling, but not very green yet and I saw no sign of leaves on the many grape vines. We were joined by 3 of their friends, so we had a group of 7.

Restuarante Pomo is one of the two best restaurants in Sanlúcar, according to Pedro and Antonio. They should know because they lived there for years before moving to Jerez. We ate outside , under an awning and it is a good thing we had some protection because the wind coming up the Guadalquivir can be gusty. It was a little cool, but the area and the restaurant were crowded and that added an illusion of warmth. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that we had a 2-hour lunch. This one was substantially longer. There were 7 of us, but at any one time there were probably 5 different conversations going on in French, Spanish, and English. It was typical of many groups we see at cafés and restaurants in Spain where everyone is talking to everyone else all at one time and all at the top of their voices. The food was good and primarily from the sea. It could not be much fresher since we were only a stone’s throw from the river. [It connects here to the Atlantic. Columbus (Colón) left on his first trip to the New World from here.]

When we finished at the restaurant, we left to find Tocino del Cielo for dessert. We weren’t successful, but we did spend another hour drinking coffee and eating deserts. Afterwards, we walked through one of the oldest parts of Sanlúcar and had one of the best tours imaginable because it was given by Pedro and Antonio who not only told us what we were seeing, but also what they were feeling about their town.

We had a really good time with nice people and we learned a lot. We got back to the apartment with enough time to make it to the 8:30 performance at Villamarta.

The show we saw was called ETERNO – Homenaje a Piccaso (ETERNAL – an Homage to Picasso). It was put on by the Carlos Rodríguez and his dance company. Here is the first sentence of the synopsis in English: “ETERNO was born with the idea of ​​capturing and expressing in the form of dance the vision of the eye of a universal artist called Pablo Picasso.” (Here is the original.) I wrote at the top of this post that the performance did not resonate with us and I have been thinking about how to express why it did not.

ETERNO was divided into parts: Suite Picasso and Eterno. The suite was made up of a palos (flamenco dance types). It was performed, alternately, by the cuerpo de ballet and individual dancers. The dance was well done and was often a mix of traditional flamenco and ballet. Some of it worked OK and some of it did not. The music was also OK, but nothing special. It was also a little frantic. This part lasted about 55 minutes. Then the house lights went on, there was no curtain call, and some people left. It was then announced there would be a short intermission. It lasted about 30 minutes. We debated leaving, but decided to stay.

The cast, with La Lupi upstage.

The second part—Eterno—started with a completely different set and the costumes of the dancers were, to my eyes, strange. There was a person wearing a mask of a horse’s head and another wearing a bull’s head. The music was a little discordant. The corps de ballet was on stage most of the time in various combinations. At one point there was a dancer who dipped her hair in black paint (or something like it) and painted herself, the floor, and some of the hanging decorations. Looking back, I am guessing that what we saw was somehow supposed to represent the turmoil in the mind of Picasso as he worked, but it did not get through to me. The dance was a mix of flamenco steps and ballet, sometimes by different sets of dancers at the same time. I could make no sense of it and was happy when it was over. I know I can be a little slow to appreciate the “updating” of flamenco, but this espectáculo went too far.

I should mention that one of the dancers in the corps was La Lupi, She is well-known here, and has been to Albuquerque both as a performer in the festival and as a teacher at UNM.

Overall, however, the day was a great success.

Big cast, big picture,. I could not squeeze more in.

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