Dance Review







Ballet Flamenco

Sara Baras

Sabores (Flavours)


Direction and Choreography Sara Baras

With the special collaboration


Jose Serrano and Luis Ortega in

A Fuego Lennto and their solos

Music – Jose Maria Bandera, Jose Carlos Gomez, Mario Montoya, Miguel de la Tolea and Saul Quiros

Lighting and Scenography – Fernando Martin and Sara Baras

Costume Design – Sara Baras

Assistant Director – Patricia Pereyna Baras

Sadler’s Wells

1 – 12 July, 2008








A review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!


Sara Baras’ unique blending of ballet and flamenco generates vivid memories of its beauty and power which resonate long after she and her company have taken their many curtain calls. Sabores was also a huge hit during its brief run at Sadler’s Wells as part of its annual Flamenco Festival in 2006. 

Growing up in post-Franco Spain, (near Cadiz) Baras would have been among many individuals seizing upon a myriad of opportunities presented for reinvention. Since the art of flamenco had, by the early ‘70’s, come to be regarded as little more than a tourist attraction, the time for change was more than right by the time Baras, (born in ’71) came of age.  Since her youth, she had been fanning the sparks of a fire that would develop into a burning ambition to reinvent her country’s native dance. By incorporating her more measured, meditative ballet training into her passionate flamenco choreography, Baras has expanded the range of flamenco as an art-form, as well as audience interest in it, as she has infused the dance with a renewed sense of imagination and vigour.

A spotlight falls upon a chair on which a wide-brimmed hat and a guitar case rest, along with a pair of women’s Flamenco shoes, as a lone violin plaintively plays. As other instruments join in, the music opens up, and the dancers drift onto the stage, , with one woman gliding a railing of long, colourful dresses along, as Sara Baras dons her Flamenco shoes, giving a sense of backstage preparation. The music quickens and synchronises with clapping as some of the men and women stamp and spin, with Baras as the whirling nucleus of their energising cluster.

In addition to its extraordinary dance, this mixed programme is designed to showcase a wide variety of musical flavours or palos (rhythms) from ‘A fuego lento’ (Slow Fire) to ‘Zambra’ (Commotion) and the diverse group of talented musicians includes three guitarists - Jose Maria Bandera (also Musical Director), Mario Montoya and David Cerreduela, as well as two singers – Miguel de la Tolea and Saul Quiros, Antonio Suarez on percussion and Jose Amador Goni on violin. The varying paces and moods of the pieces played and sung provides the perfect accompaniment to Baras and her consummate troupe’s joyously executed programme of masterful dance.

Highlights of the show included, of course, all of Baras’ glorious onstage manoeuvres, be they quietly poised and/or more furiously paced, as well as those of her two great male counterparts, Jose Serrano and Luis Ortega, both of whom represented the male point of view through their dance with great style and panache, similarly drawing much applause and cheering. In a March, 2006 interview with Silvia Calado on, both Ortega and Serrano claimed that their solo numbers in this show, ‘Seguiriya’ (Spanish gypsy flamenco guitar playing style) and ‘Alegrias’ (flamenco musical form consisting of 12 beats) respectively, have been designed as tributes to the flamenco maestros who danced before them. Ortega’s eyes were full of fire whenever he looked at his audience, and his very non-traditional use of castanets, which are, of course, traditionally associated with women, was truly mesmerising. Serrano’s approach to his dance, conversely, seemed much more laid back, as he almost appeared to enjoy momentary reflective breaks between his more tempestuous outbursts of stomping.

However, the company itself consists of many flamenco luminaries, the names of which can be found below. In one memorable sequence, the gently flirtatious swirling of women in long black ruffled skirts was quickly followed by rapid fire stamping from the male contingent, who grasped the ends of their dark coats in unison, as though mimicking a group of matadors determined to outwit unyielding bulls. The accompanying music and singing was sublime. In the number entitled ‘Tangos’, Baras stands centre stage, a portrait of serenity and strength as two men inspect her at close range, running their fingers along her outstretched arms. Despite their ardent interest, the expression on her face is independence personified. The progressively fiery dance she lapses into afterwards is at once, sultry and unabashed, contemporary, yet respectful of all that has come before. But above all, it is tremendously exhilarating! Watching Baras dance, one is continually reminded of the potential for beauty in each individual ‘frame’ of her movements, as pauses reside comfortably between each flurry of expressive ballet and/or Flamenco gesture and step. It is precisely these paradoxes which make her performances so fascinating. However, there are more moments to savour within the context of Sabores than anyone could reasonably count!

Prolific Baras directed and choreographed this marvellous show as she has most of her other similarly acclaimed productions in the past. In addition, in this case, she has collaborated on its lighting and scenery with Fernando Martin and also, designed its fluid costumes. One particularly striking, long dress she danced in featured a white top, gradating through tones of grey in its long skirt, leading into pitch black at its hemline. The effect created when Baras forcefully whirled its skirt was reminiscent of vintage, monotone dance sequences captured on film. And colour was used very effectively in terms of lighting to heighten the sense of drama, energy or pathos, as required, utilising shades of nearly every colour in the spectrum.

Sara Baras is a dancer of rare dignity and power and her moments in the spotlight are not only pivotal within the context of this production, but spellbinding.  Her capacity to effectively emote, dance divinely and bring the audience onto her wavelength simultaneously is simply, unparalleled.  When you also consider the accomplished talents of those accompanying her, you can be assured that your discerning, or curious, as the case may be, taste for entertainment of the highest order will be more than satisfied. Forget everything you know, or, think you know about flamenco, just go – you’ll be very glad you did!


Corps de Ballet
Alicia Fernandez
Cecilia Gomez
Ana Gonzalez
Charo Pedraja
Maria Vega

Raul Fernadez
Jose Galan
David Martin
Daniel Saltares
David Nieto


Sadler's Wells Theatre
Rosebery Avenue, London
Tue - Sat at 7.30pm
Sat Mat at 2.30pm, Sun at 5pm
1hr 20min (no interval)
£10 - £38

Under 16s: Half price tickets on Sat & Sun matinees (max 2 per 1 adult)
Group Discounts
Groups 8+ 20% off stalls seats for most performances





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