Manuel Liñán's precision and gender fluidity make Baile De Autor a stunning production

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Baile De Autor | Manuel Liñán Company | Vancouver International Flamenco Festival | Vancouver Playhouse | September 14, 2019

Manuel Liñán is a stunning, innovative performer. With his powerful rhythms, smooth transitions, and gender fluidity, he was a joy to watch alongside guitarist Manuel Valencia and singer David Carpio.

Every scrape, stamp, click, and tap was clear and precise. Every movement infused with determination and passion. Coupled with the evocative guitar and vocals, Liñán’s choreography is divided into a series of scenes, each one with a different arrangement of light tubes in a pattern on the stage.

Lighting plays a large role throughout — the lighting bars are hanging low over the stage when the curtains open and the stage is bare with no wings. It’s a sparse stage with Liñán sitting in a chair flanked by Valencia and Carpio. The lights lift, the wings come down, and they transition into a section of faster paced choreography, including a neat sequence with Liñán stepping from chair to chair as they are moved by Carpio.  

The most striking scene, however, was Liñán wearing a long flamenco skirt while incorporating a fan and a shawl into his choreography. These props tend to be reserved for female dancers, but they did not look out of place on Liñán and he has a real flare for using them to his advantage to enhance the choreography. He ends the show as it began, seated in a chair with the wings up and the lights hanging low, although this time he has his shawl draped over him — he is the same person, only transformed.  

Liñán has choreographed for companies such as the Ballet Nacional de España, Nuevo Ballet Español, Rafaela Carrasco, and Belen Maya; and he has made his mark as a solo dancer. His talent in both regards is evident in this production that allows him to highlight both of those aspects of his career.

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