CULTURE

Fiery, flamboyant flamenco by master Joaquin Cortes

Multifaceted, gifted and handsome, Joaquin Cortes is an artist who knows how to keep world audiences on their feet. A true star. A leading figure in dance – and of flamenco in particular – the Spanish-born performer returns to Greece next week for one single performance at the Lycabettus Theater on Monday, July 5. The evening is being organized by MDA Hellas, a highly active charity that aids those suffering from muscular dystrophy. MDA Hellas is a member of the International Muscular Dystrophy Association. «For the four years we have been operating, we have observed that legislation is not enough. We need to establish respect for people with restricted mobility, to make fundamental changes in the mentalities of each and every one of us,» said MDA Hellas President Vana Lavida at a press conference on Wednesday this week. «A well-coordinated effort could work wonders.» At the Lycabettus, Cortes will work his magic, while proceeds from Monday’s evening will go toward the establishment of a second special muscular dystrophy unit. Dancing star Though absent from the press conference, due to a prior engagement in Korea, Cortes will be present at the dress rehearsal on Sunday. In Athens, the fiery performer will present his latest traveling show, «Live.» It is a performance based on dance, music and song, in which Cortes, once again, presents a challenging combination of disciplines and styles. The production also features spectacular lighting, which will greatly add to the evening’s atmosphere. Beginning with «Introduction,» the show moves on to the following choreographies: «Martinete,» «Buleria,» «Solea por Bulerias,» «Alegrias,» «Zambra,» «Seguiriya» and «Jaleos.» A natural performer, Cortes was born in Cordoba, Spain, in 1969. At the age of 15, his Gypsy blood drove him to join the Spanish National Ballet in Madrid, where his talent was soon spotted. Feeling restricted, eventually Cortes took off to perform alongside dance legends including Maya Plisetskaya, Silvie Guillen and Marie-Claude Pietragalia. He finally established his own company, the Joaquin Cortes Flamenco Ballet, in 1992. In 1995, Cortes was invited by cult movie director and fellow Spaniard Pedro Almodovar, to appear in «La Flor de mi Secreto,» while in the same year, he began collaborating with Italian fashion master Giorgio Armani. Tickets are on sale at the Hellenic Festival Box Office (39 Panepistimiou), Metropolis music stores and at Ticket House (42 Panepistimiou, tel 210.928.2900). For credit card reservations, call Ticket Shop at 210.9559.900. The performance is scheduled for 9.30 p.m.