Flamenco is deceptively beautiful.
Dancer Natalia Pérez del Villar fell in love with the Spanish art form as a young girl whose mother begged her to take lessons from the only dance teacher in Oviedo, Spain.
She and Flamenco Underground will perform "Flamenco Valentines" at Cucuru Gallery Cafe on Saturday.
Flamenco consists of three parts: guitar, song and dance. It originated in the southern regions of Spain but is influenced by Latin American, Cuban and Jewish traditions, among others.
"When I got older I realized how difficult it is," said Pérez del Villar, "when you start understanding what you're doing. The thing I love about it is the music and the singing. The combination of everything is exciting because on stage in flamenco there is a lot of communication."
Flamenco Underground shows are "tablao"-style ("tablao" is a place where flamenco shows are performed), like in Spain, with plenty of improvisation. Saturday's performance will feature live music, including flamenco singer Mark Herzog and Brint Luckens on cajón, a box-shaped percussion instrument played by slapping the front or rear faces.
"Depending on my mood we go shorter, longer, we improvise," Pérez del Villar said. "It's an incredible experience. When it goes well it's amazing."
Four dancers, including Pérez del Villar and two from Colorado Springs, will perform four styles, or "palos," of flamenco. Sevillanas, from Seville, Spain, is a folk dance done by a couple that's popular at parties and festivals. Guajiras is an example of a "canción de ida y vuelta," flamenco music that grew when Spanish people went to the New World for work and then returned to Spain with traces of New World culture. Farruca was once danced only by men, though that tradition has changed. It was the name given to people in the Asturias and Galicia, regions in the north of Spain, who were away from their homes. Alegrías, which means joy, is a 12-beat palo, said Pérez del Villar. Though it is easy to listen to, it is one of the most complicated flamenco dance forms.