Love Suspended Between Light and Darkness
ABOUT Romance Sonambulo
Romance Sonambulo, by Spanish poet Federico García Lorca, tells the tragic story of two lovers separated at the edge of life, desperate to be reunited before they are enveloped in darkness.
In this production, the story is told from the perspective of the two lovers - Él (He) and Ella (She). Each character is represented by both a dancer and a singer. The dancers portray the lovers' visceral emotions and experiences, while the singers express their inner thoughts and longings, drawing us into a lush, romantic world of love, fear and sorrow.
Compadre, the third character in the poem, is portrayed by a singer who lives both in the visceral world of the dancers and the inner world of the singers. He interacts directly with Él, trying to save his friend's life even as he pours out bitter recriminations for Él abandoning his love.
The performance is accompanied live on stage by a flamenco guitarist. Although not a character in the story, the guitarist plays the role of the omniscient storyteller, connecting to both the physical movement and the inner thoughts of all three characters.
Romance Sonambulo (Sleepwalker’s Ballad), choreographed by Katerina Tomás is an intense work that dramatizes the Sleepwalker’s Ballad through dance, flamenco guitar, and opera. Sung beautifully by Gregorio Gonzalez/Baritone, David Castillo/Baritone and Maya Rothfuss/Soprano, in Castilian Spanish, the tale is of two separated lovers who long to be reunited. Tomás combines Flamenco’s physical style and accented footwork with Martha Graham-like modern dance.
Everyone in Romance Sonambulo is excellent and the choreography is strong. Tomás understands theater and she has created a very strong tale of love and loss. The elegant set by Jorge Lopez, Blue Pocket Studio evokes a Spanish café, and having live music onstage is almost always a plus. It was performed with passion by composer/guitarist Stephen Dick.
Review by Jeff Slayton
See Dance News - March 3, 2-17
Federico García Lorca’s Gypsy Ballad Romance Sonambulo has been central to our work from the beginning. The first flamenco dance theater piece we created, this work has evolved as our vision of flamenco dance theater as an art form has evolved.
The current version is performed by two flamenco/contemporary dancers, three opera singers, and a guitarist. Supported by a multi-level stage set, it is the most lavish realization of the piece to date.
Time moves freely in the poem. We experience a moment, a day, and a lifetime in the same instant. The lovers are both vital and dead, together and separated. Using a singer and a dancer to portray each of the lovers allow us to reveal them in different times at the moment. A third singer, the compadre, lives intensely in the moment, grounding the surreality of the piece.
Lorca’s surrealism is at the heart of flamenco dance theater. This journey reveals intensely felt and lived moments, which is the essence of flamenco. This production is our most completely developed version of this core vision.
About the Premiere
Romance Sonambulo was first presented as a work for solo dancer, guitar and baritone in 1990 at ODC in San Francisco. It was staged again in 2005 at the Madrid Theater in Los Angeles with two dancers, guitar and baritone.
The current version, featuring two dancers, three singers and a flamenco guitarist, was presented by the Los Angeles Dance Resource Center at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles in 2017.
Gregorio Gonzalez, Baritone
David Castillo, Baritone
Maya Rothfuss, Soprano