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[ENG] Farruquito – Flamenco

Text: Angela Lee     

Heir to a world-class flamenco family, Farruquito, at his 41-year-old, first appeared in Hong Kong for the 52nd Hong Kong Arts Festival. He led a team with Manuel Valencia as the guitarist, Paco Vega as the percussionist, Ezequiel Montoya, Manuel de la Nina and Mari Vizarraga as singers, as well as Marina Valiente and Auxi Fernández as the bailoras (female dancers) and brought 1.5hours of non-stopping stunning songs, music and dances to the audience that might have been waiting for nearly two decades since Farruquito cancelled his trip to Hong Kong in 2004.

This show is titled as “Farruquito” which features a look back at his traditions and artistic roots, and marks his talents in composing the music, lyrics and choreography for different palos (musical forms of flamenco).


The stage setting is very simple, with a few musical instruments, five antique-style wooden chairs, a big wooden table with strong metallic support placed in the middle on a large area of black dancing board temporarily built on the stage of the concert hall.

Farruquito—Flamenco(Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

Farruquito—Flamenco(Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

Farruquito opens the show by playing the piano. The subdued music becomes more energetic when both cajón and guitar add power to the notes.  When two male and one female singer sing Caña (a 12-beat palo) and do palmas (clapping with strong accents), Farruquito, dressed in a black suit with a guitar pattern on the back, hits the floor by his electrifying feet. He adds delighting rhythms to the music by heating the wooden table surface.  Sometimes Farruquito comes down to the stage for presenting salutes to the audience after he has just made some remates (markings of the ends of passages). This act helps to build connections with the audience and in return the artist gets the applause as encouragement.


The second palo – Soleá por Bulerías (a 12-beat palo) - brings in the solos of the Auxi and Marina one after the other. Feminine confidence prevails through the strength of their heads, hands, hips and feet.  This dance is completed by a triadic combination with Farruquito, boosting the atmosphere in the hall.

Then comes the Seguidilla (a 12-beat palo) which is for expressing sufferings and sorrow.  Mari’s hoarse voice presents profound sadness.  This deep and slow palo calls out Farruquito, dressed in black, who closely interacts with Mari to give his passionate solo dance.  Afterwards, lively and pleasant music replaces the gloomy air when Ezequiel and Manuel sang Alegria (a 12-beat palo) which means happiness.  Auxi, in one-piece beige bata de cola (a long-tail skirt), dances solo like a happy queen in a gown. Then, Farruquito, in a white suit, joins to dance gently with Auxi in the Silencio (a slow section).  After Auxi retreats from the stage, Farruquito’s Bulerías (a fast and playful 12-beat palo) follows with improvisions.  Like an agile dragonfly jumping highly, quickly, and freely between notes, ones cannot turn their eyes away from him to miss any of his movements.

Farruquito—Flamenco(Photo provided by Hong Kong Arts Festival

Afterwards, Marina, dressed in bloody red, comes to do her solo of Taranto (a 4-beat palo) which describes the mining life.  Flinging her long curly brownie hair, she looks tough but sexy. Farruquito, with a hat dressed casually like a miner or peasant, appears to join Marina to dance Tango (a 4-beat palo for the finale of Taranto). Following Marina’s retreat, he remains on stage to dance solo.  After a sudden moment of darkness, it is found that Farruquito stands on the table to do Zapateo (displaying foot movements) and is surrounded by all the musicians and dancers who play music, do palmas and yell jaleos (words of encouragement).  With rapid footwork and speedy turns, it seems that a “Gypsy Michael Jackson” shines on stage.  At the end, he throws his suit in the air and tries to catch it but fails after a spin turn. The suit falls on the stage floor, but he remains professional and calm enough to maintain a cool posture.  No one would notice this small flaw.


Another high tide comes when Farruquito improvises Bulerías. His intense sense of compás (rhythm), creativity, flexibility, accuracy, and pride are greatly revealed. The finale is all performers improvising Bulerías one by one, bringing fun and amusement. 


Although it is clear to see the fast movements of the dancers’ feet, the sound of their footwork is overwhelmed by the sound of the guitar and percussions in this concert hall.  If this performance could be shown in a theatre with more lighting effects at some exciting moments rather than in a formal concert hall, it may make the gypsy story more dramatic.


The show starts with a deep feeling but ends with enthusiasm.  The interchange of different sections of dances is smoothly made by the interaction between dancers. It is a simple showcase of demonstrating the role of flamenco in Farruquito’s life: expressing emotions regardless of whether the days are filled with regrets or gladness. 

Farruquito – Flamenco

Concept, Choreography and Music Composition: Juan Manuel Fernández Montoya (“Farruquito”)

Review Date and Venue: 8 March 2024, 20:00 Concert Hall, Hong Kong Cultural Centre



Angela Lee


Lee has been studying flamenco dance since 2009.  She participated in Dance Enhance in 2015 as well as 2017: a dance appreciation and criticism writing programme organized by the Hong Kong Dance Alliance.  She was awarded the Doctor of Applied Language Sciences from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2020.


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