A VENUE used since the 1930s for drama, opera and music productions, the Montgomery Theatre takes a step forward in its ambitions to become a major events and creative centre this weekend with the arrival of Flamenco Express.
It is the first appearance in Sheffield by the London-based company which for the past 14 years has recruited the best flamenco performers available to present to international audiences.
Founder member, choreographer and director of Flamenco Express, La Joaquina, has worked with such luminaries as Christina Hoyos and Paco Peña around the world.
Co-founder and musical director Chris Clavo has performed as a flamenco guitarist across Europe with Flamenco Express as well as touring with flamenco jazz virtuoso Eduardo Niebla and Iraqi pop sensation Jassim.
They will be joined at the Montgomery Theatre by Lina León, much in demand as both a classical flautist and flamenco singer, and Jorge Muelas who spent 10 years at the Royal Conservatory of Professional Dance in Madrid from the age of 12 and then danced with Belen Lopez Ballet before coming to Lonon in 2007. Within a year he had appeared on The Royal Variety Show, which was broadcast on the BBC and also performed on television in the Paul O’Grady Show.
The show also features the long-awaited return to the UK of the great Jose Merino, a man who has consistently danced with the greatest names in flamenco all over the world. Sheffield contemporary dancer and choreographer Caitlin Smith, who has worked with the company on dance projects, is hoping this will only be the start of Flamenco Express’s engagement with her home city.
She has a new project in development, Iron in the Soul, with plans for performances in London and Sheffield
It is a performance in three parts featuring contemporary dance, musicians and flamenco artists from Flamenco Express on which she is collaborating with La Joaquina. Based on the Flamenco form of Martinete, probably the most primal form of flamenco, struck on an anvil, it is a site-specific piece at the Crystal Palace Bowl. Smith believes the themes of the anvil and metal working is ideal for Sheffield and is currently looking for a location with a forge and steelworking history.
Flamenco Express are at the Montgomery Arts Centre Sheffield in Surrey Street on Saturday. Tickets are (£14 via 2565567 or www.flamencoexpress.co.uk.