From the San Francisco Bay Guardian's Rita Feliciano:
The Azahar Dance Foundation is a good idea. Realizing that artists have a difficult time stepping out of the pack, the foundation for the past four years has supported flamenco dancers by giving them opportunities to put on a full evening's worth of their own work. This year it's Melissa Cruz's turn to curate a show. She has invited her French-Basque colleague Fanny Ara ("La Fanny"), tabla player turned flamenco percussionist Sudhi Rajagopal, Seville singer Felix de Lola, and master guitarist Jason McGuire to contribute to a program of choreographed and improvised works titled "La Vida Flamenca." Both the compact, petite Cruz — a student of the legendary Rosa Montoya — and the elegant Ara are experienced, well-known dancers, performing often with Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos. They also are open to experimenting with the myriad musical and theatrical influences that are reshaping concepts of this Iberian–North African–Indian gypsy art. Three years ago, for instance, they were brave enough to join speed metal guitarist Benjamin Wood for "Flametal," a kind of Rocky Horror Picture Show of angst and theatricality. Cruz makes a 180 degree turn away from that show's extravagance with this evening of flamenco puro, in which nothing interferes with the direct expression of human emotions — passion and pain, exhilaration and loneliness — through music and dance. As always, at the heart of flamenco is the spontaneous give-and-take between musician and dancer that is at once playful and deadly serious.
Of course, I know this will be awesome. My teacher's the show's artistic director.
LA VIDA FLAMENCA Sat/8, 8 p.m., $25–$29. Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina at Laguna, SF. (415) 345-7575