Pablo Croce, director/creator of Between Worlds (Entre Mundos) couldn’t have seen the irony in titling this befuddling fusion of Flamenco, urban dance, and very loud noises. It is billed as both a Flamenco fantasia and transportation to “a future where…desperate tribes war with each other and…only one force is powerful to save humanity from itself.” That force is its star, Siudy.
Worlds is polished to the glossy extreme, more like a theme park extravaganza than a story driven forward by spontaneous outbursts of dance. The company is impeccably turned-out, dancing in precise formations, and uniformly emotive, but it all feels hollow somehow. Flamenco is the rough, imperfect expression of soul-searing emotion. It is the dirt on the floor, the ache in the muscles—the duende. If this is what you seek, I regret to tell you that you’ll have to look elsewhere. In an effort to make it palatable, the soul seems to have been displaced in favor of a thin, familiar plot.
Oddly enough, Between Worlds is done a major disservice by its narrative—not the contents per se, but its actual presence. The show loses steam while trudging dutifully through the requisite business that links the events worth dancing about. The well-intended majority plays like an afterthought, a miasma cobbled together when someone pointed out that there ought to be something in between the solos.
Don’t get me wrong—when Siudy does her thing, like in her jaw-dropping “rain dance,” absolutely nothing else matters. She is duende personified, her face Sphinx-like, her feet alone worth the price of admission. A cadre of lissome dancers provides support, all stomping, popping, writhing, and posturing with admirable commitment. Most notable among them is Brian Abadia as Dowsing, whose natural, unassuming dancing provides an unexpected, yet welcome grounding in all of the drama.
And is there ever some drama: a cataclysmic drought, the birth of a savior, a forbidden love, betrayal, war…Flamenco is all about the confluence of passions, and in the rare instances when dancer, musician (an excellent Joaquin Gomez as Cante), and stakes are in concert, Worlds is bewitching. Unfortunately, we mostly idle Between moments.