Aug
01

Among his many claims to fame, which include being part of that wave of flamencos who made it an international thing in the ’60s, Jose Greco gave Paco de Lucía his first steady gig touring when he was just 13. I’m guessing that the responses to this video will be either: a) Too theatrical; b) That’s exactly what flamenco is supposed to be like; or c) Wow, that’s outdated.  Now that I’ve poisoned your opinion by giving you my three options, let’s see what you think.

Also – who’s that guitarist? I don’t recognize the face.

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11 Responses to “Jose Greco – Farruca”

 
  1. Tom says:

    Phenomenal technically but, leaving aside the stagey elements, there is something not quite right about the posture that, for me, puts it a little outside the tradition of flamenco dance. But others may disagree strongly.

  2. Jessica says:

    Farruca’s are difficult. I sort of see your point Tom, he’s not standing as upright … chest like a bull they say.
    I have no idea who the guitarist is. I’d have to ask my father.

  3. ronjazz says:

    Nice stuff, in spite of the theatricality. Greco was a classical dancer, so his postures may not be officially flamenco, but still, this is good to see.

  4. Antonio Montesione says:

    I knew Jose and several of his guitarist, with whom I ‘ve studied with.
    The video here of him dancing was from the movie Around The World In 80 Days. The guitarist is Jeronimo Villarino, who was my main teacher 40 years ago.

  5. Antonio says:

    I forgot to give my opinion of the dance in question. The movie is a 1956 Mike Todd production. That makes it outdated by its age alone, since flamenco did not evolve to much in that era. It is also theatrical, since that is how is was meant to be. However, it is what flamenco was perceived to be by American audiences at that time. Jose Greco, even though he was born in Abrizzi, Italy, was one of the best known “Spanish” dancers of that era, along with Carmen Amaya. Both had their own dance companies and traveled all over the world. There were many 33rpm records out with their music. The guitarist in this video, Jeronimo Villarino, was also one of Carman Amaya’s guitarists, along with Sabicas. Both appeared in many movies. Here is a clip with Carmen dancing the traditional (my favorite style) Alegrias, which includes a paseo, escobilla, Castellana, Ida, and ends with Bulerias. Villarino is second guitarist from the left. The last guitarist on the right, is Sabicas.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDRPgr5c4qM&playnext=1&list=PLBBED5848C2279640

  6. Kai says:

    Thanks for all of this Antonio – I’m going to look into Villarino. The name is vaguely familiar, but he wasn’t really on my radar, so it should be fun researching him. I’d love to hear about what it was like studying with him – where was that?
    Cheers,
    Kai

  7. Antonio says:

    Hello Kai,
    Mr. Villarino had a home on Beachwood Drive in Hollywood. My Aunt, who was a choreographer with Jose Greco in the 1950s, introduced me to him and paid for my lessons. At my first lesson, I arrived early and sat in my car. I noticed him sitting on the porch looking at me. He complimented me on my punctuality, since he said that punctuality was a good (and rare) trait amongst his students. I later accompanied her dance classes at Morrow Landis Studios in North Hollywood for 2 years. She introduced me to many dancers of that era and I got to play for most of them, as well as photograph them. I am a photographer as well. I did album cover photos for Vicente Gomez for his albums released to Japan. Mr. Villarino was a fantastic man. Very friendly gentlemen. He had a 1922 Santos Hernandez that he paid $13 for. It sold about 7 years ago on Ebay for I think around $25,000. I have my lessons with him on reel to reel tape. He was of the old school and had played for many of Spains best dancers in the 1930s until about the 1960s. I saw him on TV many times in old films. One night in the mid 1950s, I saw him on the Loretta Young Show, playing for Loretta, who portrayed a flamenco dancer in that episode. Mr. Villarino was good friends with Jose Oribe and gave guitar lessons to Art Valdez (both are Luthiers here in California).

  8. José Greco was a fine flamenco and classical Spanish dancer, and instrumental in promoting both styles in the United States. His FARRUCA performed in this film was and still is common practice, not that outdated, and brilliantly executed. Greco’s dance lineage in the U.S. includes many who studied and performed with him, and Los Angeles and southern California in particular resonate with his mentorship.

    It’s too bad that so many colloquialisms and so much information follows Greco, which is quite undeserving. His technique, including footwork, turns, stance, marking steps and other flamenco attributes demonstrate clearly his knowledge of the art form.

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