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Fire and rhythm

As popular styles of dance go, there may be no more elemental form than flamenco.

The purity of that Gypsy song and dance style -- with its rhythmic stomps and claps, its piercing vocals and intricate guitar work across ancient melancholy chords -- got its hooks into the Spaniard Jose Porcel at the impressionable age of 13. Thus captivated and inspired, Porcel launched on a lifelong mission to master the form and introduce it to new audiences.

He'll do just that, in his third trip to Western New York in six years, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, North Campus, Amherst. Porcel and his company will present a new program called "Gypsy Fire," which is meant to adhere to the pure tradition of Andalusian flamenco that stretches back centuries.

As the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca wrote, this style, known as the "cante jondo," "approaches the rhythm of the birds and the natural music of the black poplar and the waves It is also a rare example of primitive song, the oldest of all Europe, where the ruins of history, the lyrical fragment eaten by the sand, appear live like the first morning of its life."

Tickets are $11.50 to $31.50. Call 645-2787 or visit

-- Colin Dabkowski

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