I first saw Yaelisa at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in her full Flamenco regalia trailing a white dazzling train. That costume wouldn’t fit on the stage at Rhythmix, but that in no way impaired the stunning performance of Caminos Flamencos. Founded by Yaelisa, the performance on Friday night May 26th featured three dancers, a cantora and a guitarist, Jason Mguire “El Rubio”. He looks more like he should be playing for clog dancers, but has big creds with the Flamenco community.
Yaelisa has Flamenco in her bones, and when she stands, arms upraised, torso tense, the room is hushed with expectation – awaiting the explosion of the dance. She performed a number called soleares, one of the oldest styles in Flamenco, in the Cante Jondo category of song styles. The naked yearning voiced by the cantora and the interplay between dancer and accompanists ended with a standing ovation. Kina Mendez was in top form, her voice strong and piercing in ballads of what I can only imagine to be lost love and anguished yearning. Clara Rodrigues danced with youthful exuberance, her balletic training bursting out of the formal Flamenco style. Devon LaRussa charmed and seduced every male in the front row. Her footwork seemed to have a life of its own as her shoulders and torso wove sensuous magic
Yaelisa has a school – and at the end of the performance, she called upon some of her pupils to join her on stage. Six or seven came up and danced in jeans and sneakers. A charming 6 year old by the name of Sonia has already captured the finger motion and proud stance. The finale made it not just a performance but a community.
What a treat to have this talent in our neighborhood and so good to sit in a intimate cafe-size space. The sound could have used less amplification for such a modest space. Rhythmix Cultural Works (http://www.rhythmix.org) is a very local performance venue just over the Fruitvale bridge at 2513 Blanding Avenue in Alameda . The next Caminos Flamencos performance is on June 30th . For information on performances or the school, contact (email@example.com).