“TOREROS ELEGANTE” GRACE ALMERIA’S PLAZA DE TOROS
Ric Polansky ©
Without a doubt the best festive line-up of Bulls and Matadors for the entire year in all of Spain in reputedly the prettiest Plaza in all of Andalucia, are arriving for the fiesta bravo in Almeria.
The mid day parties, between noon and six will be in full swing too so, even if you are not interested in the Toros, which is totally pardonable, but don’t miss the high noon merry making. It is great fun, full of lots of characters in silly outfits, plenty of senoritas in spectacular trajes de flamenco, lots of gentlemen on horseback and plenty of TDV (Tintos de Verano) red wine with ice cold lemonade, that goes down a treat.
The Plaza de Toros will be the main center of the attraction with such stars as: DOMINGO 20TH AUGUST, Toros de Yerbabuena, apprentice toreros for Julio Benitez, “El Cordobes”. Yes, this is the official, legitimate son of the great one himself, the "Beatle" of the bullring who graced the 60s and 70s in Spain. “Cayetano” is the most spectacular and best Novillero I have ever watched in my life. He is not a normal person. First of all he is the brother of Fran Ordoñez, one of those of the famed 100 Club (having performed in more than 100 corridas in one year in Spain and France) but he is also the great grand nephew of the renown Nino de la Palma, grand pappy from Ronda of the Ordonez lineage that produces nothing but stars. Think of what the illustrious bullfight critic Corrochano said of the prodigal giant “his name of Cayetano and he is from Ronda”, you won’t be disappointed. David Esteve – is the best Novillero to have ever fought in the Vera bullring. He has lots of followers and recently starred in Madrid. I never go to novilleros, but I will be in the front row for this corrida.
LUNES 21ST AUGUST, Toros de Miguel Arroyo and Enrique Martine for Ruiz Manuel, Hollywood handsome Torero of Almeria who has fallen on bad times and is trying to make a comeback. He will either die in the bullring on Monday for daring (and carried out on shoulders) or be booed to the chagrin of his fellow Almerienses. He needs a comeback and deserves one too. Morante de la Puebla, is the artist worshipped by all the other Toreros. They come to see him. Unfortunately he has been worse than abysmal this entire year, and it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that anybody bothered shooting a photo of him. Manuel Jesus, “El Cid” is the big star from Sevilla and triumphed there and Madrid. He has perfected the “Natural” (pass with the left hand) to an art form of picturesque beauty and grace. No frills, not a big repertoire, but an honest Torero.
MARTES 22ND AUGUST – This will be the Corrida that everyone will kill to get in to view. Toros de “Zalduendo” – who won Toro of the in Almeria four out of the last five years for Enrique Ponce, the greatest torero of them all, have been a member of the 100 club for 7 consecutive years. Need I say more. Next to him is the Torero who commands the highest draw and payment in the world, Julian Lopez, “El Juli” – who usually gets paid between fifty to 100.000 Euros per Corrida! Beautiful and graceful, he learned his cape work in Mexico and if he feels like putting on a show you will never forget who you saw. Torres Jerez – is quite old for a Torero, having not decided to become a Matador until he was well into his 20s. From Almeria too, he impressed thousands last year. He is knowledgeable of the bulls and also doubles as a competent radio commentator. Well worth seeing.
MIERCOLES 23RD AUGUST, Toros de “El Torreon” for
Cesar Rincon, from Columbia was good. I ranked him in my top 10 before the year began, but he has been worse than disappointing. He is allowed on the Cartel (list of toreros) because his manager must know someone in Heaven. He really shouldn’t be fighting at all this year. Sebastian Castella – is the biggest star of the year. Everybody wants to see him and they should. Polish mother, Spanish father, brought up in France, he markets himself as the international star. Really good with a cape and moves very close to the bull with the muleta (red cape). His opening pass is a pendulum in which the bull charges and just before it gets to him he whips the cape behind himself thereby diverting the charge of the bull in the last moment making it swerve completely around him. Salvador Cortes – Is the gypsy stylist from Sevilla and actually cut four ears in that famed Plaza. No-one thought much of him until he went up to Granada and did the same thing, and now everyone is watching him.
JUEVES 24TH AUGUST, Toros de “Los Espartales”
For the Rejoneador (mounted horse back rider) Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza – who is the heartthrob of all the women who ride horses. (More of a circus act for me). Jose Maria Manzanares – son of the famed Matador, who finally is learning to Torear himself, having cut ears in Sevilla and Madrid. Alejandro Talavante – He is the luminary that all the true aficionados are coming to scrutinize. The greatest Torero since Manolete in my opinion was one Jose Tomas. All the aficionados are saying the same thing about Talavante. I saw him perform in the Vera bullring and was shocked how competent he was for 18 years of age. It was like he possessed a sixth sense. Now that he has become a full Matador, and is still only 19 he scorned his critics and went up to Barcelona and cut 2 ears in a Plaza that is trying to prohibit bullfighting.
VIERNES 25TH AUGUST, Toros de Santiago Domecq
For Antonio Barrera –
Cesar Jimenez – The one and only! He is my favourite torero, come and watch why. He has shunned big time management and picks the corridas where he is to perform. Every move he makes, every position he stands in, every gesture he makes, stride he takes he is a pure torero. Watch him and witness greatness! Matias Tejela is the fastest improving torero of the lot. He won awards in Sevilla and Madrid. Uncomplicated and brave.
The Fair ends with a Corrida on
SABADO 26TH AUGUST, Toros de Hnos. Garcia Jimenez
For Finito de Cordoba a stylist who can be good, but rarely is.
David Fandilla “El Fandi” is the world’s No:1 Torero. He is simply thrilling! If you haven’t been to a corrida before here is who to see. You will remember him! Carried out of the Granada bullfing 25/26 times he appeared. Guess where he is from? Incredibly spectacular with Banderillas. Eduardo Gallo – is another son of another famous Matador, who I dare say is already twice as good now as a young man than his father ever.
If you have to pick a fight to see and you didn’t particularly like bullfights, see this one on Saturday.
All Corridas will start at exactly 7.00 p.m. in the afternoon. It is the only event in all of Spain that happens on time.