Review – María Pagés: An Ode to Time

London 01 July 2022

My last show in the 2022 London Flamenco Festival was María Pagés: “An Ode to Time”. There are some flamenco artists I’d always want to see because their creations and ideas are always worth it. María Pagés is one these artists and she did not disappoint this time either.

Wonderfully choreographed dances with rapid movements, varying formations and a wide variety of flamenco types are the result of the collaboration with El Arbi El Harti – writer, poet, dramaturg and academic of Spanish and Latin American Literature. Originally from Morocco, he submerged himself in performing arts in 2011, in particular in flamenco choreography, of which he has also written a doctoral thesis! The fun fact is that he happens to be María Pagés’ “partner in crime” on and off stage!

The dance company is made up 4 female and 4 male dancers (plus María) which is a big enough group to play with the number of people on stage, creating choreographies in smaller groups at times that blend together in one big formation from time to time. This changing structure of the choreography and the scenery is the work of María Pagés and El Arbi El Harti, and I found it incredibly beautiful. I particularly enjoyed the dance with the mantones at the beginning of the show. Watching the various coloured mantones flying in the air, I even shed a tear. Such control, such precision, and simply beautiful. I also liked the dance with the walking sticks towards the end. The fast rhythm and their control of this “instrument” is fascinating.

I consider the hand and arm movements of María Pagés her trademark and it was lovely to see her individual dances where we could enjoy these trademark movements, and in one of the dances, also her spectacular castanets.

An Ode to Time looks at darkness and light, encouraging us to reflect about the passing time, the nature of time itself and the wide array of possibilities in the time we live in.

María Pagés was recently awarded the 2022 Princess of Asturias Award For The Arts for her talent and commitment to Flamenco. Congratulations to María for the award and to the entire team for yet another great flamenco show!

There it goes. The 2022 London Flamenco Festival has finished. Leaving us with wonderful memories of old and new flamenco, modern and traditional dances and sounds. It was a great mix, great job Miguel Marin, the director of the Flamenco Festival and his team. See you in 2023!