Belen Maya | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dancer Belen Maya's performances with singer Mayte Mart'n are sometimes billed as flamenco de camara or "chamber flamenco," returning the form to its cabaret roots. The term seems apt given the smidgen I've seen of Maya's dancing: a slim, narrow-hipped figure in a flowing dress sans flounces and polka dots, she moves with remarkable economy yet communicates great strength and passion. Maya is the daughter of Spanish dancers Carmen Mora and Mario Maya but was born in New York while her parents were on tour; she's performed with many famous flamenco artists but has also studied classical, Hindu, and modern dance. At times, taking a wide stance in plie and clasping her hands to her heart, she resembles Martha Graham, yet her snaking arms and twirling fingers are pure flamenco; now approaching 40, she should be close to the height of her artistic maturity. Maya and Mart'n (see Critic's Choice, Section 3) appear as part of Flamenco 2005 accompanied by five musicians: two guitarists, a violinist, and two women providing palmas (hand claps). As Mart'n describes their version of flamenco de camara, it's "no movement other than hers, no voice other than mine, no musicians other than necessary, no elements that hide subtle details, no tricks to disguise our art." Ole! Tue 2/8, 7:30 PM, Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport, 773-935-6860, $25. Note: Maya offers a master class Mon 2/7, 6 PM, Northeastern Illinois University Dance Studio, bldg. A, room 113, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr, $25. Call 773-442-5916 to register.

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