A Bronx Tale w. Ricky Santiago
Company Teaching Artist Gives Back
I was painfully shy as a kid, I didn’t talk much, and I certainly didn’t go on the dance floor. I loved music and rhythm, but it wasn’t until flamenco came along that things began to change for me. I realized that I could use dance as a form of expression. I finally had an outlet for all the feelings I was too afraid to express verbally.
My experiences really influenced the way I teach. I always try to make dance relatable and accessible to kids. Let them know they can use it as an outlet for creativity and self expression, whether they think of themselves as dancers or not. A child may “hate” dance, but have a love of music, action movies, visual art, or sports. I try to tap into whatever that is and direct that love toward dance, all while having fun.
I’ve worked close to the old neighborhood before, but this summer I was teaching right where I grew up. My two brothers went to this very school, and I went to the school around the corner. I remember doing talent shows here as a kid, playing handball in the yard. I wanted the students at P.S. 595 to feel the same way the neighborhood felt to me back then, that sense of community. So we created a flamenco block-party! Thanks to City Artists Corps, we had the funding to provide every student with a flamenco cajón- giving them a firsthand experience as musicians and dancers. They learned timing, syncopation, and most importantly collaboration. They worked like real flamenco artists, bringing the music and dance together and supporting and uplifting one another along the way.
Certamen winner Adriana Olivares performing with the company in Buffalo, N.Y., during a tour sponsored by N.Y.S DanceForce
BEHIND THE DESK
Flamenco Vivo & DanceForce
Helping Flamenco Thrive
The New York State DanceForce is a consortium of about 20 dance activists committed to increasing the quantity and quality of dance activity throughout New York State. Flamenco Vivo’s Founder and Artistic Director, Carlota Santana, has been a member since 2007. The goal for Flamenco Vivo is to spread flamenco throughout New York State! Towards this pursuit, Danceforce has supported Flamenco Vivo’s Flamenco Certamen U.S.A. performances at the Bruno Walter Auditorium in Lincoln Center since its inception in 2014.
The recent DanceForce conference took place at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, in upstate New York, where this year’s Certamen applicants will spend a week in residency preparing for the competition on October 15th in NYC. In addition to the artist residency and Certamen competion, Danceforce has extended their support by offering venues throughout the state where Certamen winners can perform annually. This increase in performance opportunities will foster artistic growth, while bringing the vibrant art of flamenco to wider audiences throughout New York State.
FROM OUR READERS
ADVENTURES OF FREDDY FLAMENCOLOVER
Flamenco Esencia Triana
New Tablao in Seville, Spain
Now that I am living in Sevilla, it is easy to run into people from the flamenco world. Recently, I met dancer María La Serrana after class, and she told me a great story. One day, she was talking to Paco Ríos, the owner of a cafe on Calle Betis, and he told her that he had plans to close. ¡Caramba! Maria couldn’t believe it. So she asked the man, “How much do you want for the place?” He told her the amount and, knowing she did not have that amount, her creative mind came up with an idea… crowdfunding! The first crowdfunding campaign ever for a flamenco tablao in Sevilla, as far as I know. People loved the idea! She found a socio (partner) named Polito — yes, the one from the great flamenco family Los Farrucos — to help book the flamenco artists, and a new tablao was born.
Flamenco Esencia Triana opened on January 14th, 2021 (during hard COVID times). I’m sure it was not easy in the beginning, but poco a poco (little by little) they made a name for themselves. Nowadays, well-known artists and lesser-known but still talented artists are performing in this great place.
Flamenco Esencia is located in the flamenco neighborhood of Triana, and right outside the door you can see the iconic Guadalquivir River. They have shows almost every tarde (evening), with a drink included in the price. I went the week of August 15th to see dancer Jairo Barrull, Mercedes Cortes al cante (vocal), and Mariano Campallo al toque (guitar). And WOW what a passion and what a joy they all showed! What energy! The place was jammed with people applauding and giving words of encouragement like ¡Ole! and ¡Agua!
EL Polito and his daughter dancing at Flamenco Escencia
FROM OUR ARTIST DEVELOPMENT SERIES
Did you know?
Did you know that Camarón and Paco’s song Rosa Maria was a pop sensation, topping music charts in Spain for several weeks? In 1976, legendary duo Camarón de la Isla and Paco de Lucía released the album Rosa María. Like most of its tracks, the song “Rosa María,” was written and composed by Paco’s father Antonio Sánchez Pecino. The song, por tangos, also featured guitar accompaniment by Ramón de Algeciras.
In a recent class from our Artist Development Series, Estela Zatania explored how the sudden popularity of this flamenco song chartered in a new era of flamenco singing- repopularizing a “canastero” style with strong Gitano (Roma) influences. Rosa María topped music charts for several weeks, reminding Spain of the undeniable power of flamenco.