Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company: Solera

Reviewer's Rating

Flamenco is arguably underappreciated in the mainstream. But really, it’s a timeless classic that holds so much passion and poise, evidenced by Solera.

Solera refers to the process of aging wine in Spain, appreciating both the older and younger produce – and that is exactly what this performance does.

Starting with the first act, a rehearsal space where the audience is given a chance to warm up to the artists, watching them organically bounce off each other, and bond through their shared appreciation and talent of flamenco. This is an interesting and unexpected start to the show but allows for more personality to be seen as they interact and collaborate.

Flamenco is not just the dance, but it is the music that accompanies it so perfectly. There are three guitarists (including Paco Peña), three dancers, two singers and a percussionist. Together they create a symphony of music enriched with cultural significance and history. The artists are visibly both impressed and inspired by one another, bonded by their shared pride for their craft – how could you not be when in the presence of such talent. Each is given a turn to demonstrate their capabilities to the audience, bringing justice to all parts of flamenco that may be overlooked.

An important note is that only one performance was with the infamous dress (‘traje de flamenca’). Although beautiful, one can definitely see why as it spills across the stage with metres of fabric – a truly challenging partner to dance with. Adriana Bilbao commendably performed in it with grace and intensity, as she did with all her numbers in the show.

The music is both playful and sad at times – the dancing is both flirtatious and flamboyant – and romance exudes from all corners of the stage. The second act is more structured, a true performance where the audience can see the familiar faces and join in with the smiles onstage.

Collaboration between older and newer talent is at the heart of this performance, and Paco Peña is undoubtedly touched by the talent he presents. Two standout performances were by Iván Carpio- who performed with heart and bravado, possessing a truly captivating voice – and Gabriel Matias a sensational dancer that has unparalleled energy.

The show can be slow at times – perhaps a deep dive for someone new to flamenco – and is definitely going to be better understood by those who can speak Spanish. However, those with sincere curiosity for the art will be dazzled.


Musical Director: Paco Peña

Director: Jude Kelly

Guitars: Paco Peña, Dani de Morón, Rafael Montilla

Dancers: Angel Muñoz, Adriana Bilbao, Gabriel Matias

Singers: Immaculada Rivero, Iván Carpio

Percussion: Julio Alcocer

Venue: Sadler’s Wells

Until Saturday 20th April

Running time: 2 hour 10 mins (including 20 minute interval)

Review by Sofia Moran