In the heat of Pasion Flamenca
Passion is the mood created by a Swede with shifty feet, a lamenting Spaniard, a Polish guitarist and an Atlanta bassist. Passion, yes, and a hodgepodge of accents, eye colors and temperaments. They call themselves Pasión Flamenca.
"In Flamenco, the songs are about your life," says Swedish-born dancer Ulrika Frank, who brings 20 years of the dance's signature footwork to the Atlanta-based group. "It's nothing that you just play or sing or dance. It's something you live through."
The dance started centuries ago as an evening family ritual evoking the mood in the households of gypsies living in southern Spain. A birth in the family? The song and dance was a swirling, happy show. A tragedy in the family? Surely the Flamenco reflected that, too.
Similarly, Pasión Flamenca bares its soul every second Wednesday night for the crowd at Andaluz Bar de Tapas on Peachtree Street in Midtown. No two performances are the same, says guitarist Witold Tulodziecki. "At Andaluz, we don't even know how we're going to play that night," he says. "We just get there and five minutes before, Ulrika might say, 'How do you feel today? What was the traffic like? Let's release some energy.'"
And they do. Carmen Deal, who grew up listening to her father and brother perform Flamenco songs in her native Spain, tilts her head, closes her eyes and lets fly with spine-tingling wails. That cues Tulodziecki, who responds with a rapid patter of chords. Mike Cady adds bass tones. Then Frank comes swirling, her red skirt rising as she spins, feet hammering a staccato cadence.
The performance passes quickly, and then they're finished. Not the crowd, though. "Ole!" someone yells, and everyone applauds. They have felt, for a brief time, the passion of the Flamenco.
Pasión Flamenca performs Wed., Nov. 14, at Andaluz. The group presents its theatrical performance, VIVIR!, Sat., Nov. 17, at Emory University's Cannon Chapel. Call 770-641-6673 for information.??