Soul Train

“Flamenco is not folk art,” argues Natalia Perez Vel Villar. “It’s an art. I always try to make the point of how difficult it is.”

She’d know. Having begun her training as a flamenco dancer in her teens (she started in ballet, but switched), Perez Vel Villar has spent most of her life perfecting the rigid carriage, the lightning-fast foot movements and, perhaps most important, the duende — a hard-to-translate word that basically means “the soul” — of the dance. And when Perez Vel Villar dances, she brings the duende.

Tonight, she also brings her band — Vincent Chavez on guitar and Mark Herzog on vocals (Perez Vel Villar does some vocals herself, as well) — to Navidad Flamenca, a performance centered around flamenco interpretations of the villancicos (traditional Christmas carols) of Spain and Latin America. Think of it as The Nutcracker, if that production were sped up to 300 beats per minute and performed by highly trained gypsies.

Get some duende tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street; tickets are $12 at the door. For more information, call the Merc at 303-294-9281.
Fri., Dec. 10, 7:30 p.m., 2010