• "Casa Patas" Packs the House

12/5/2008

On November 24, the Madrid-based Fundación Conservatorio “Casa Patas” presented Ida y Vuelta, an event hosted by the Distinguished Visiting Scholars program of the College of Arts and Sciences.  The show, composed of dances and instrumental pieces in a variety of flamenco forms, gave the C. Walsh Theatre a glimpse into the talent of the world-renowned troupe.  

Associate Dean Sebastián Royo introduced the group by delineating a history of the confluence of cultures — Christian, Moorish, Sephardic and Roma — that all left their mark on flamenco.  He placed the performance on a continuum of the university’s core ideals.  “At Suffolk, we value education, but we also value tolerance and diversity,” said Royo, who is also the director of Suffolk’s Madrid campus.   “Flamenco is symbolic of Suffolk’s commitment to all cultures… [Flamenco] is an instance of the benefits of coexistence.”

Top flamenco performers in their native Spain, Casa Patas’ handful of musicians gave the enthusiastic audience booming instrumentals, from the quiet air of Diego Villega’s flute to the thunderous vibrato of singer José Anillo.   Dancers Guadalupe Torres and José Maldonado displayed the Arabic and Roma influence in the silhouettes of their soleás, with the staccato rhythms of their steps reverberating around the theatre.

“I was surprised by … the remarkable fusion in the timeless chant of flamenco and the modern forms of jazz, blues and rock,” said Professor Marilyn Plotkins, chairperson of the Theatre Department and the coordinator of Suffolk’s flamenco program in Madrid.   From the semitones of North Africa to the bending notes found in Delta blues, to the melismatic vocals evoking influences from muezzins to Mariah Carey — Casa Patas brought the quintessential example of flamenco’s modern blend to Beacon Hill.

The Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program of the College of Arts and Sciences brings prominent, nationally and internationally renowned scholars, artists, and intellectuals to the Boston campus for stays ranging from one week to a month. Throughout the academic year, Scholars teach courses, deliver lectures, and host workshops and roundtables.  For further information on events for the current academic year, please visit the Program’s page at http://www.suffolk.edu/college/385.html

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