15 days: We are excited to feature ꜟArte Flamenco! in our countdown today. They perform Sunday January 27 at 2pm on the DanceWeekend'19 stage.
Can you tell us a little bit about your company/collective/school?ꜟArte Flamenco! has been around since 1990 when it was originally formed to represent Spain during the CNE's 'Say Si to Spain' exhibit in the summer of 1990, Its school counterpart was established several years later.
Being the founder and artistic director of ꜟArte Flamenco! , the focus right from its conception has always been to present Flamenco dance works that embrace and honor the traditional style of this artform.
In the late 90's the focus of ꜟArte Flamenco! embraced the idea of Flamenco dance theatre – where by means of the dance, cante, guitar, and poetry – a story was been told. Themes that were chosen have been profound in nature and rooted in human experience from Alma Encerrada - Encaged Soul (1998) which was based on a personal story of an abused woman to Las Desamparadas estan Llorando – The Helpless are Crying (2006) which portrayed women of a mining town and their despair after a collapse in the mines.
Transitioning from that period put more focus on school projects allowing the school to have an active role in presenting successful sold out performances since 2008 such as the series of Viva La Danza, Olė Flamenco and Pasión Flamenca. Our last performance entitled Danza Espaňola con Amor was held on April 14th, 2018 also to a sold out house.
What will you be showing at DanceWeekend?
We will be presenting two different traditional flamenco dance pieces
Solea por Bulerias and Siguiriyas. These are the palos or rhythms that the choreography is set to. I have chosen not to give the pieces any specific titles.
There will be a musical solo as well in between both pieces.
Who are the performers?
Dancers are Kiyo Asaoka, Sonia Bibershtein, Yurika Hinkle, Catherine Mais. (understudy Jonathan de la Cruz). Musicians – Justin Brown – guitar, La Pili – singer, Derek Gray – cajon. Elena La Comadre (myself) – choreographer.
Can you talk about your creative process? What inspires you?
That is difficult to pinpoint. Any artist can have 'writer's block that can put a halt to any inspiration when trying to create a piece. And dancers/choreographers such as myself who are in the autumn to winter phase of life and where life seems to take more than it gives, finding inspiration can be challenging, Creativity does not come along when you exactly want it to. However when it does come it is like a pouring out of ideas, images, emotions that one can put in movement. Thus you are on a creative roll – sometimes only short lived.
What inspires me? Dance of course and not necessarily Flamenco, live theatre where I can see how one actor relates to another and how the story unfolds. People watching and how they interact in day to day living. Church – which for some can be viewed as religious theatre – all these mediums can tell a story or ignite thoughts and emotions which in turn can play a catalyst in a creative project or at least for me.
What does performing at the 25th Annual DanceWeekend mean to you?
Firstly it is an honor to be part of this amazing yearly event. DW gives us dance companies/collectives/schools ( whether we be of small or large capacity) a great opportunity to present our work even if it is in a 'work in progress' state. It also serves to bring the dance community together. Each of us have an artistic voice – something to say whether little or much – it is still important and DW allows us to do that. To my recollection ꜟArte Flamenco! has been part of this amazing event almost from the beginning which is very emotional for me. I am grateful for all of these past opportunities. I would have to say that DW in itself is an incentive to create – to perform – to be part of a larger community we call the dance community.
Do you have any other up-coming performances/events you would like to share?
Aiming to present an upcoming performance for the spring of 2019.