islamabad - The word Giralda has multiple meanings. An icon of Seville, Spain, Giralda, the magnificent Bell Tower of a cathedral has weathered many storms since it stood on the ground in 1195,   built by a Muslim architect as the minaret of the Aljama mosque, before being turned into a Christian worship abode.  In Spanish language, the word Giralda also means “She who turns”. The event titled Giralda was a Flamenco dance performance hosted by the Spanish ambassador to Pakistan, His Excellency Carlos Morales. It was a full house at Sheesh Mahal, Serena hotel with guests in best of their attires for the Spanish treat. Flamenco music, a magnum opus of Spanish culture is an art-form, closely associated with the Gypsies who settled in Andalusia, Spain and goes back over centuries. It is now taught all over the world and is very popular in Japan.

Giralda, at Serena hotel was a complete package of entertainment comprising a singer, guitarist, two dancers and a percussionist. The 90 minute performance for the local cultural cognoscenti’s was spellbinding. The two lead dancers, Ruben Puertas and Maria Vega trussed up in a corset, wearing  traditional multi-color  flamenco costumes and they drilled  their feet in rare percussive intricacy while throwing off extraordinary shapes with their angled out flung arms. The drilling ferocity of their foot work with no music accompaniment at times, spiraled away the audience slowly and exquisitely. Kneeling, sliding and scrolling their bodies across the floor, blowing flurries of rapid-fire stamping and their superb calligraphy of the hands, wrists and arms left the audience awestruck. 

The musicians, virtuoso performers in their own rights delivered an exhilarating high voltage show to the audience.  The performance was detonated with precision and power.  It was an evening that screamed avant-garde, especially when freezing in a long moment of silence, respected by the extrovert audience playing on every surface of the instruments. There were sections that made the guests cheer the mesmerizing prowess of the two dancers Maria and Puertas’s techniques. Maria turned her tense wiry body into an entire rhythmic play ground.

While Jose Almarcha plucked his guitar strings like a man possessed, wing-footed Maria whirled and stamped in a similar possessed fashion, her heels pounding the stage like the hooves of tethered thoroughbred.  Hitching her dress a few inches from the floor and deftly stamping her feet in perfect time to the beat of the music, the dancer in her had come alive.  She increased the tempo in an astounding blend of swirling footwork. It was an ideal ensemble of voice, guitar and percussion showcasing styles and moods flawlessly. Together with their band of a guitarist, percussionist, and a singer, Maria and Puertas danced their hearts out with their lean bodies, dazzling solo numbers with an air of gravitas.

Synchronizing their torso they danced in the rhythmic beats taming their inclined bodies and transforming into a sophisticated svelte act forging a special bond with the audience with hundreds of expressions enthroning as an avatar of flamenco soul, leaving the crème de la crème of the capital baffled. It was indeed a night to remember.