Flamenco with attitude 

click to enlarge Lovely: Carolé Acuña, center, and her troupe present  “Same Amor,” a flamenco piece with comedic surprises. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Lovely: Carolé Acuña, center, and her troupe present “Same Amor,” a flamenco piece with comedic surprises.

Giving proof that celebrating LGBT Pride is a year-round affair, and cannot be contained to a single mammoth parade, Acuña Danza Teatro brightens up this post-S.F. Pride weekend with performances of “Same Amor.”

The show’s longer title, “Prehistorically the Same Love/Prehistóricamente El Mismo Amor,” gives more than a hint that the new work by the “flamenco company with attitude” speaks to the theme that love is all the same, regardless of gender or ethnicity.

“We play off the theme that you can love whomever you want,” says Carolé Acuña, flamenco dancer-choreographer-comedienne-actor and company founder. “Our means is flamenco, modern dance and comedy.”

Acuña’s five-person company, now in its second season, tried out the piece at the Brava Theater last year. Now in its tweaked final version, the show involves eight people, and is strong on the rhythmic impulse that makes flamenco dance so captivating.

“One of my solos toys with the seriousness of flamenco,” she says. “There are also switches of traditional flamenco sex partners. We show the difference between traditional and modern flamenco, including the costume you wear and the rhythm and structure you follow.”

As improbable as it may seem, Acuña’s company is one of few in the U.S. that push the boundaries of the flamenco art form.

“There’s more experimentation happening outside the U.S., especially in Spain,” she says. “To bring in comedy and modern dance without fusing them is extremely rare. Our live accompaniment for the flamenco also breaks the guitar mold by using a trumpet for accompaniment. Even more extreme, our trumpet player, Beau, who’s from Savannah, doesn’t know flamenco, and toys with the concept.”

When asked for more detail, Acuña states that the show may tell a cast member’s true coming out story in a happy or sad way, or intersperse it with music.

She also hints that there is a naked rubber chicken involved. It seems that although the chicken originated in China, it finds itself right at home, because flamenco is big in Asia, specifically Japan. “Nearby is an oversized bra,” she lets out. “You’ve got to see it to find out the rest.”

“Same Amor” is presented by Footloose as part of the Artists in Motion performing arts residency program at Shotwell Studios. When Acuña is not dancing up a storm with her company, she tours as a soloist. Having played in China, Seattle, New York and Reno, she says with confidence: “You know you’re making it big when you’re booked in Reno.”


Acuña Danza Teatro
Presented by Footloose

Where: Shotwell Studios, 3252-A 19th St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday  
Tickets: $10 to $20
Contact: (415) 289-2000, wwwbrownpapertickets.com, www.ftloose.org

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Lauren Gallagher

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