The Arizona Vivaldi Festival was founded by Michel Sarda at Arcosanti in October 1998 to honor Paolo Soleri. Sarda’s “Art Renaissance” was its producer again this year, and this time, the eighteenth time at Arcosanti, Vivaldi’s work was played by the terrific Phoenix String Quartet, and the emotion of the music was translated into Flamenco by the internationally acclaimed flamenco artists and musicians of Bernadette Gaxiola’s “Zona Flamenca.”[photos by Rob Jameson, text by Jeff Stein]
This night was very special in another way, too: unlike all other dance forms, in which dancers move to the music, in Flamenco, the dancers lead and the musicians try to keep up. It all worked out wonderfully, and people in the packed house had the experience of their lives.
A close-to-capacity audience arrived for a terrific Spanish-style dinner in the café and after dinner, 45 additional guests(!) filed in for the performance. With the startlingly beautiful flamenco was Spanish guitar, and voice, and Vivaldi with strings.
Then: has it ever happened before that a wheelchair-bound person was featured in a dance performance? Yes, once or twice. Was it ever more beautifully done than in the Café at Arcosanti this past Saturday night? No, probably not ever. It was a transcendent moment, when a young girl in a wheelchair took part in the Flamenco, spinning among the dancers, her own flowing gown reminding everyone of how angels move.