Dance

Fallen From Heaven (Caída Del Cielo) – Dublin Dance Festival (Abbey Theatre) – Review

Fallen From Heaven (Caída Del Cielo) – Dublin Dance Festival (Abbey Theatre) – Review

24 – 25 May 2022
Written by Rocío Molina
Directed by Rocío Molina & Carlos Marquerie

Flamenco is a Spanish dance style most people are familiar with. It is based on the folkloric music traditions of southern Spain. Choreographer and performer Rocío Molina has taken this tradition and updated it, creating something new and vibrant.

The production starts with four musicians casually walking on stage. They sit at their instruments at the back of the stage. They are all male and dressed in causal black clothing, one even wearing a tracksuit like he just stepped off the street. They play a relatively standard rock song, with guitar, bass, drums and vocals. It’s a short song, and after it is finished they put down their instruments and walk off stage. At this point, Rocío Molina takes centre stage in a magnificent white dress with a long trail. The dress resembles the bata de cola (which literally translates as a ‘robe with a tail’), the traditional dress of Flamenco dancers. After a long period of inactivity, where she gazes into the middle distance, she slowly starts to move.

This piece is a collection of short dances, with various arrangements of musical accompaniment. You can expect a number of costume changes. We see Rocío dressed as a traditional dancer but at other times, she appears as a bullfighter or a BDSM dominatrix. There are playful moments, where she has a packet of crisps attached to her crotch, which she is not allowed to touch. In another sequence, she pushes a variety of flowers down her bra, eating grapes and spitting the seeds into the air! In one of the most impressive sequences, she wears a dress soaked in what appears to be blood. As she moves on the white dance floor, she leaves a dark trail behind her. A camera high above the stage captures the image and projects it onto the backdrop of the set. It appears like an abstract painting, with the streaks and stains reflecting the swing of a paintbrush.

The musical accompaniment also changes, with solo Spanish guitar, along with acapella Arabic style singing and a variety of percussion, from hand-clapping and stamping to a full drum kit. Each segment has its own style, which marries with the movement.

There are elements of traditional Flamenco to the performance, but it is always subverted in some fashion. She will perform a segment before she tumbles to the floor, only to carry on with something approaching a gymnastic display or modern dance. Rocío Molina has won a number of awards, including the Silver Lion at the Venice Biennale (2022) and an Olivier Award nomination for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2018. This work shows her many skills, but also her endurance as the 90 minutes duration is a test for performer and audience alike. For those with an interest in Flamenco, this production puts a new twist on the noble tradition.

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