DanceForce Member: Carlota Santana
Artists: Leslie Roybal, Carlota Santana
Community Partner: Kaatsbaan Cultural Park for Dance
Counties: Dutchess, New York
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and the Center for Flamenco Arts presented the Flamenco Certamen USA on Friday, October 25, 2019 at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. A unique competition that brings emerging talent to the public eye, the Flamenco Certamen also provides a model of support for and exposure of the flamenco art form throughout New York State. This project supports Flamenco Vivo’s goal of broadening outreach to the entire community and making the flamenco art form a part of mainstream dance in the USA.
Unlike previous years where the main components of the competition took place in New York City, this year’s series of events leading up to the Final Performance and Judging took place in Dutchess County at the Kaatsbaan Cultural Park for Dance. 9 Finalists were chosen via online application to compete at two levels, and were each given 8 hours of free studio time at The Center For Flamenco Arts. They competed for cash and other prizes including the opportunity to travel to Madrid, Spain to study. The panel of Judges included flamenco artists Rebeca Tomás and La Conja, dance writer Brian Seibert as well as choreographer/director Maria Torres.
While at Kaatsbaan, the Finalists immersed themselves in flamenco for a full 6 days. They watched two professional performances and a school performance given by Flamenco Vivo, received daily sessions with live musicians and mentors Emilio Ochando, Isaac Tovar and Florencia Oz. Daily programming included technique classes as well as “cuadro” (the practice of working with live musicians), and the dancers enjoyed unlimited access to Kaatsbaan’s 3 dance studios. The Finalists also took part in a “preview performance” of the Certamen competition on Thursday, October 24th, where they experienced the energy of a live audience.
The addition of the upstate residency has transformed this competition as it provided a focused, intensive experience for the Finalists to work and develop outside of the worries of daily life. No other opportunity exists in the flamenco world with such an intensive learning experience; where every mentor and musician is there to support each dancer’s personal growth. This competition provides the opportunity for profound artistic development while presenting the rich cultural art form of flamenco to the greater community.
“I have been following all the steps of this Certamen and I am impressed by everything; the week long residency, the prizes, and the opportunity to go to Spain and study with such wonderful artists is just amazing. I feel really grateful to have witnessed how much this competition has grown!” – Laura Sánchez
“Thank you because you might have no clue how much your work continues to impact our lives after the programs that you work so hard on. They move us, they inspire us and shape us as human beings. Simultaneously, we impact the people around us as well which means your work really has no limits.” – María Fernanda García Lozano, First Prize Estudio Level