Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company returns to Sadler’s Wells with Solera this April
Flamenco guitarist, composer and producer Paco Peña and his company return to Sadler’s Wells Theatre with Solera from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 April, following its acclaimed run in 2022.
Paco Peña, supported by his friend, theatre director, Jude Kelly CBE for the piece’s dramaturgy, explores artistic wisdom and the fearlessness of youth in search for new expression.
The solera system, from Andalucía in Southern Spain, is a process for aging wine by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. The purpose for this is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the beverage over time.
The word “solera” means “on the ground” in Spanish and refers to the lower level of the set of barrels used in the process; the liquid is traditionally transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom.
Echoing this method, Peña’s spectacle presents a history of flamenco tradition – handed down from one generation to the next whilst finding its own new means of expression.
Solera features young and mature artists – dancers, musicians and singers. 81-year-old guitar virtuoso Peña performs side by side Dani de Morón, a wonderful and innovative young exponent of the flamenco guitar, as well as with dancers Angel Muñoz, a long-time participator, Adriana Bilbao and Brazilian dancer Gabriel Matías, who specialised in flamenco in Madrid. True to the art form’s spirit of community, the dancers’ feet connect with the ground to combine with the sounds of percussion, guitar and song as the ensemble come together to present both traditional and original live music.
Paco Peña and Jude Kelly CBE started working together twenty years ago, when they created Voces y Ecos. Other projects include A Compás! and Flamenco sin Fronteras, a study of flamenco forms at the turn of the twentieth century, when Spanish performers arriving in South America discovered a folklore reminiscent of their own musical traditions. With Solera, the duo collaborates again to tell the story of love and respect of the flamenco way of life.
Paco Peña said: “The shows I present on stage always tend to follow a familiar journey: finding a meaningful idea, finding a title, in a word or two, that might contain the essence of that idea; then giving shape to it, in rehearsals with all my colleagues. And finally, with much trepidation, stepping on the stage to share it with the audience.
I have to say that in all the years I have been taking that journey I have never experienced anything like the outburst of emotion from all the artists as we came off the stage on the opening night of ‘Solera’, in 2022 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre … there was not a dry cheek among us – and that was at the interval.”
Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company presents Solera Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 April 2024. Tickets from £15. Visit www.sadlerswells.com to book now.
Photo: Paco Peña – Solera © Elliott Franks