dpm is a Birmingham-based freelancer with experience of arts and lifestyle features.
It's foot-stomping good
This flamenco show at Birmingham's mac clashed with the first night of Strictly Come Dancing but that didn't keep the crowds away.
In fact the arts centre's theatre was packed with people of all backgrounds here to experience a little bit of Spain.
For many, flamenco is a tourist shop full of spotty dresses and castanets but this production is raw, raucous and in the true spirit of this Southern Spanish dance and music tradition.
A compas, which translates as 'in rhythm', is an ideal introduction to flamenco as it has a little bit of everything. There are three dancers, two guitarists and a singer and all are given their moment in the spotlight.
Jaleo Flamenco Dance Company
The show is a mix of different traditions of dance which takes us across the Andalucian cities of Malaga, Seville, Ronda and Cadiz – the very heartland of flamenco. But it also steps beyond Spain by including guajiras which developed thousands of miles away in the streets of Havana in Cuba.
From the passionate siguiriyas to the fun of the alegrias, a Compas is an energetic journey through a range of emotions, rhythms and footwork.
The evening begins with a martinete in which there is no guitar but the rhythm is hammered out with sticks. Traditionally linked to the gypsy smithies, the martinete then allows for plenty of freedom for the dancer to create their own frenetic footwork.
Through the range of dance we then reach the finale, fiesta por buleria – a party of flamenco in which the speed of the footwork and the whirling body motions could really take your breath away.
The enthusiasm and energy of all of the cast as well as their undoubted talent as musicians and dancers left us all just a little bit exhausted.