Dollywood is currently alive with the sights and sounds of the Festival of Nations running now through April 9th. The festival just happens to be one of my favorites of the parks festivals, and not only features entertainment from around the world, but tasty international food items. The festival features several new acts this year, including Grammy winners Ladysmith Black Mambazo, the National Dance Company of Siberia, Los Vivancos presenting The Flamenco Kings, and JigJam. Returning to the festival are popular Invaders Steel Orchestra, musical group Atahualpa, and stilt performers Zebra Stelzentheater from Germany. All the aforementioned shows are wonderful, but the act that steals the festival this year is Los Vivancos, seven brothers from Spain performing as The Flamenco Kings. Just like Drum! and Mother Africa in past festivals, this act is getting marvelous word of mouth accolades, and is a must see during the festival. You may have seen the brothers performing on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, where they no doubt brought down the house. The brothers were raised by a wandering musician family, and traveled the world incorporating cultures that influenced their current flamenco performance. They attended the Barcelona Dance Conservatory, and their style includes martial arts, ballet, street dance, acrobatics, theater, and of course flamenco.
The minute the brothers hit the stage you know this will be a spectacular show. The show at the park includes the brothers performing on various instruments, some playing and dancing simultaneously. When not playing instruments, the brothers practically wear out the stage with their impressive dancing. The high energy dancing is accompanied by a soundtrack that would be fitting for “Game of Thrones” or any superhero movie, and only adds to the thrills of the show. One of the most crowd pleasing moments is when the brothers dance upside, leaving the crowd cheering. You can tell the brothers are seasoned performers as they really know how to work the crowd. The day I saw the show for a second time, Dolly popped on stage to twist in her Spanish style costume, crack a few jokes, thank the performers and the crowd, and just be Dolly. Los Vivancos performing as The Flamenco Kings is a show you don’t want to miss, and along with other diverse shows and delicious international treats, are only a few of the reasons why you must rush to Dollywood before the Festival of Nations comes to a close on April 9th. Now if I could only learn to dance upside down. Los Vivancos is on social media and videos of past performances can be found on YouTube. For park hours and showtimes visit www.dollywood.com or Dollywood on Twitter or Facebook.