||Last Updated: Aug 20th, 2006 - 06:20:08
SAND, SILK, SUN and CAPES –
Ric Polansky ©
The yearly circuit has returned to Almeria’s Plaza de Toros in the calle Los Vilches—to a resounding STANDING OVATION. If you travel the world over you will not find a better “cartel” (listing of toros and toreros to confront each other) on this planet nor has there ever been one this varied and interesting – EVER - anywhere.
Each day offers a contrast in styles and personality on the matadors conception of how the bull should be fought. Pure art, unshielded bravado, daring foolishness; seasoned scared veterans parade into the arena along side young aspiring matadors with more than a handful from our own Province of Almeria.
Sunday: I traditionally give away my tickets to someone that can´t afford to go. Novices trying their best with not full grown bulls but quick and dangerous. Novillos de Toros de la Plaza for Tores Jerez, Luis Bolivar and Damien Ramon.
lunes, 25th agosto
Toros de Santiago Domecq
El Califa, El Juli, Cesar Jimenez.
Julian Lopez has been caping bulls since the age of ten. Too young to fight in Spain he made a name for himself in Mexico and came home to become the most applauded and best paid torero in 1999 and 2000. The El Juli “show” is always exciting and he knows how to play to the masses. El Califa was the worse torero I had ever seen. He was given a bath by the young woman Christina Sanchez five years ago in Yecla but since has recovered to create some thrilling passes especially the one from behind his back just before the toro charges over him. But I am going to see Cesar Jimenez the reincarnation of Manolete. A serious boy just 19 years of age he has captured the true aficionados notice this year as the Prince-King. Every posture he makes is as if being photographed and studied for posterity. He likes doing farolas and swirling cape work which pleases the masses and often times initiates fighting the bull from his knees with the opening passes of the muleta (red cape) something the great El Cordobes did only when the bull was tired.
martes, 26th agosto
Toros de Juan Manuel Criado
Joselito, Finito de Cordoba, Javier Conde
The star of the show should be Finito de Cordoba, last year’s number one torero in the world. I have seen him 100 times but only good in his own home town of Cordoba. Last week I had a phone call from a friend who said he too saw Finito good and outside of Cordoba. He has arte and can make the slowest pass be an eternity.
Joselito still remains one of my old favourites, although this year he goes through the ballet of performance but is never part of it.
Javier Conde not only hypnotizes the bull he too becomes one with the beast and can become lost in a mirage of passes and farolas that sent me back to the text books. Not only is he artistically innovative he has the gypsy sentido to make the public one with him (as Curro Romero had). Returning to Almeria´s plaza de toros is a step back into history as he was sentenced to jail here following probably the best “faena” I have ever seen a novillero perform. Conde insisted the president pardon the bull. The authority became outraged and refused to concede him the two orejas he deserved. He was given one. Instead of strutting about holding it high in the air as a premium he sauntered out to the center of the plaza and buried the appendage then took his “vuelta” (trip around the ring) in reverse direction. As the present was foaming at the mouth and groups of Guardia Civil were descending on the torero he calmly accepted his fate with haughty dignity. He is back—expect something outrageous.
miercoles, 27th agosto
Toros de Zalduendo
Enrique Ponce, El Juli, Antonio Barrera
This the day of the bulls. Zalduendo toros have been voted No:1 for the last three consecutive years in Almeria. Here you see the maestro of maestros Enrique Ponce. Before he became a full matador only 7 men had fought 100 times in a year. Enrique has fought 100 times himself 11 times. Picture perfect, he is the classic torero who has been adapting himself over the years and always gives a show. He always walks out of the plaza with a trophy. The El Juli show thrives on village fairs. Valenciano Antonio Barrera was a star recently in Valencia and hopes to continue his upward trend.
jueves, 28th agosto
Toros de Alade for the Rejoneador Hermoso de Mendosa
Enrique Ponce, Fernando Robleño
If you haven’t seen a Rejoneador, Hermoso de Mendosa is the guy to see. People come from five provinces away just to glimpse his horses. Wait to you witness the magic of him directing his own horse into the charging 2200 pounds of black horned fury then pulling off to the side with but a fraction of a second. as with these animals. Ponce again because the public adore an honest torero. No frills, simple cape work putting himelf in front of the toro and not the cdape in front of the bull. Madrid´s sensation Fernando Robleño, leave the capital to grace us with his presence. Small, too tiny to be a great torero he is proving everyone wrong with his in your face valiantry. “Carry me out dead or on your shoulders as a conquero” style of toreando has excited everyone that has seen him. If they like him in Madrid he´s already great and just needs the provinces to bear witness.
viernes, 29th agosto
Toros de Marques de Domecq
Ruiz Manuel, Antonio Ferrera, El Fandi
This young Almeriense, Ruiz Manuel, with the movie star good looks and quiet bravado better have a homecoming. He is competing against two of the super-athelete-sportsmen of the decade. Antonio Ferrera who puts in his own bandarillas and has been cutting ears throughout Spain. But, for the leanred public, the glory, galads and gushing is for neighbouring Granadino David Fandila. YOU simply must see El Fandi before he dies. He has fought 18 times in Granada and been carried out of the Puerto Grande on all 18 occasions! He is that way where ever he performs. Spain´s greatest show on earth a whirling Dervisher of an athlete. If you want to hate los toros go and see this guy make the impossible and daring seem commonplace.
sabado, 30th agosto
Toros de Carriquiri TOREROS DE ALMERIA
Curro Vivas, Jose Olivencia, Jesus de Almeria, El Cesar
My foto study of “a bad day at the office” says it all for Curro Vivas but he is up and fighting again and climbing the rankings. Jose Olivencia likes posing and gesticulating, more than making serious slow passes. Jesus de Almeria never seems to know what he is doing in the ring but produces beautiful passes; lacks killing skills. El Cesar is a new young torero who has his chance to cover himself in glory on this his big chance.
Remember the rules of the Almeria plaza de toros. Everyone around you MUST be treated as if a “distant cousin.” In order for you to share their picnic treats (following the killing of the third toro) YOU too must have a hamper full of goodies, pastries, sandwiches, cavas, and cool drinks to share. YOU will not be disappointed. Less so if the bulls are bad.