All you flamenco fans in NYC, rejoice! The 10th Annual New York Flamenco Festival kicks off next week and will run from Feb. 11 to 21. This year promises to be bigger and better than the last, with the repertoire expanding beyond Andalucia and into Madrid and Morocco, so grab a date, fill up on some tapitas and fine Rioja, and get ready to enjoy, as Alejandro Sanz would say, “momentitos tan flamenquitos.”
Here’s the rundown of the program for each night. For tickets, check out: worldmusicinstitute.org/flamenco.
Thurs Feb 11 - Gala Flamenca
This year's gala, Toda Cambia (Everything Changes), features important new figures in flamenco dance: Pastora Galván, a versatile dancer able to navigate easily between classic and modern flamenco; Manuel Liñán, a master of technique who is steeped in tradition and known for his dramatic choreography; Belén López, who has caused a sensation in flamenco circles in recent years; and Rocío Molina, the fiery young dancer who has become "one of the finest soloists in the world today, according to the New York Times.”
Fri Feb 12 - Compañía Rocío Molina
The Málaga-born Rocío Molina has become a major star in the flamenco world at the age of 25. Noted for her work with the Compañía María Pagés, Mujeres with Belén Maya and Merche Esmeralda (seen at the 2008 Flamenco Festival), and performances with her own company, she has been described as a revelation in flamenco dance. This program features the US premiere of Oro Viejo (Old Gold), where she explores the passage of time accompanied by three dancers, a singer, and musicians (guitar, percussion, palmas).
Sat Feb 13 & Sun Feb 14 - Compañía María Pagés
María Pagés, one of Spain's most celebrated dancers, is known for the sinuous movement of her "endless arms" and her charismatic stage presence. Born in Sevilla, the award-winning Pagés gained international recognition as a principal dancer with the companies of Antonio Gadés, Mario Maya and Rafael Aguilár before creating her own company in 1990. For this festival, her acclaimed 15-member troupe presents Autorretrato, the introspective and soulful program that won the Giraldillo Prize for Best Show at Sevilla's 2008 Bienal de Flamenco.
Wed Feb 17 - Canteca de Macao (U.S. Debut)
The Madrid-based Canteca de Macao has caused a stir in international music circles in recent years with its wild blend of flamenco, rumba, rock, punk, reggae, salsa and jazz. One of Spain's most popular live acts, the group makes each performance into an exciting and joyful party. For this program, the nine-member group, which includes a juggler, features selections from its new CD Agua pa' la tierra (Warner Music), a distillation of all the musical cross-currents in modern Madrid.
Fri Feb 19 - José Antonio Rodríguez
The award-winning guitarist José Antonio Rodríguez presents Córdoba …en el Tiempo, his compelling work dedicated to the city of his birth. His program reflects his memories of the vibrant and romantic city that for centuries was Europe's greatest cultural center. Rodríguez has composed music for orchestras and dance companies, appeared in Carlos Saura's Flamenco and Iberia, and at the age of 20 was the youngest artist to receive the title of Official Guitar Maestro for the Córdoba Music Conservatory. He is joined by Sebastian Cruz (vocal), Chico Gallardo (guitar), Agustin Diassera (percussion), and the captivating dancer Daniel Navarro, who appears as guest artist.
Sat Feb 20 - Marina Heredia and the Chekara Arab-Andalusian Orchestra of Tetouan, Morocco (World Debut)
This program brilliantly brings together flamenco with the Andalusian repertoire of Morocco (al-ala) - music that originated in the medieval courts of Sevilla, Granada and Córdoba when Muslims, Jews and Christians co-existed in southern Spain. Granada's Marina Heredia, an entrancing vocalist in the new generation of flamenco, shares the stage with Morocco's Chekara Arab-Andalusian Orchestra of Tetouan, which has collaborated with many of flamenco's leading singers. Founded over 50 years ago by the famed Abdessadak Chekara, the orchestra is now directed by violinist and singer Jallal Chekara, Abdessadak's nephew, and includes dancer Jara Heredia from Granada.
Sun Feb 21- Compañía Israel Galván
Israel Galván is widely regarded as the most innovative bailaor in flamenco today. A rebel and traditionalist who has been called “revolutionary” and “a genius,” he is known for his incredible footwork punctuated by moments of stillness and silence. Since appearing in 1994 in Compañía Andaluza de Danza under the direction of Mario Maya, he has won flamenco's most prestigious awards, including Spain's National Dance Prize. His show La Edad de Oro (The Golden Age) strips flamenco to its bare essence, sculpting a form that resonates with the traditional while embracing the modern. Galván is joined by the renowned vocalist Fernando Terremoto, son of the legendary Terremoto, and the outstanding guitarist Alfredo Lagos, with artistic direction by Pedro G. Romero.