There is no one better than this flamenco dancer, born to a Jamaican father and a Ghanaian mother, to explain to us, using the language of dance, what it is like when someone is present but gazes pass over them; when no one pays attention and the world ignores them. In this performance - the first in which the dancer stars alone - the concept of "crypsis", which refers to the capacity of some animals to avoid being perceived, either as a predatory tactic or as a defence, is thus of special relevance.
We already saw Yinka Esi Graves during the Grec 2021 Festival de Barcelona, accompanying the singer Buika in a concert at the Teatre Grec. Now, however, the artist is no longer present as a guest; she has a stage of her own. It places the character of Olga Brown - the mulatto figure who appears in the only Degas painting to depict the world of the circus - at the very centre of it: Miss La en el Cirque Fernando. Yinka Esi Graves borrows her name and turns her protagonist into La Lala, an acrobat also known as the femme canon, through which she explores the type of invisibilisation that can be both a weapon and a defence. You probably hadn't heard of this character, nor that of Jacinto Padilla, also known as El Negro Meri or El Mulato Meri, who is one of the first flamenco artists to appear in a film by the Lumière brothers and another example of invisibilisation in the history of art.
The show, which takes the form of one of the concert-parties typical of the Ghanaian tradition, was created over the course of several residencies in the UK, France and Spain and features collaborations with renowned artists, including the flamenco guitarist Raúl Cantizano, a master of flamenco improvisation; the drummer and poet Reme Graves and the flamenco singer Rosa de Algeciras, writer of the lyrics of a song created specifically for this show.
A co-production of Grec 2023 Festival de Barcelona, Bienal de flamenco de Sevilla, Horizon Showcase, Centro Servicios Culturales Santa Chiara - Trento and Yinka Esi Graves / Trans-Forma Producción Cultural.
With support from the Arts Council England, Serendipity LDIF.
Residencies took at Factoría Cultural ICAS Sevilla, Dance 4, Heliotropo, El Graner Centre de creació de dansa i arts vives, Odeon- Théâtre de Nîmes- Festival Flamenco de Nîmes.
Concept: Yinka Esi Graves. Choreography and dance: Yinka Esi Graves. Musical direction and guitar: Raúl Cantizano. Drums: Remi Graves. Singing: Rosa de Algeciras. Lighting design: Carmen Mori. Lighting technician: Antonio Villar Liñan. Sound technician: Enrique González . Image and cinematography: Miguel Ángel Rosales. Costume design: Stéphanie Coudert.