2018 Flamenco Certamen

2018 Certamen winner Adriana Olivares. Photo by Anjola Toro

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Carlota Santana
Artists: Leslie Roybal, Carlota Santana
Community Partners: Elaine Gardner; La Colora Flamenco Costumes, NYC; Sally Lesser Designs
Audience: 1,120
Counties: Erie, New York

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and the Center for Flamenco Arts presented the Flamenco Certamen USA on Friday, October 19, 2018 at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at the NY Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. This unique competition brings emerging talent to the public eye while fostering the continued development 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. In order to address the growing demand for participation, this year the competition expanded to include 2 levels of competition for students and pre-professionals. With the aim of expanding outreach to Upstate NY communities, the winning artist took part part in a multi-day residency in Buffalo, NY in collaboration with DanceForce member, Elaine Gardner.

10 finalists were chosen via an online application process and were given 8 hours of free studio time at The Center for Flamenco Arts, an open class, a mentor session with local flamenco professionals as well as Spanish artist Issac Tovar, and final rehearsals with live music. The finalists competed for cash and other prizes including the opportunity to travel to Madrid, Spain to study with revered flamenco artists Emilio Ochando and Carmen La Talegona as well as an additional week of participation in the events surrounding the Certamen De Coreografía de Danza Español y Flamenco. The panel of judges included Spanish artist Guadalupe Torres, Tony Waag of the American Tap Dance Foundation, Juan Castaño of Calpulli Mexican Dance Company and Gabriela Granados of American Bolero Dance Company.

The Flamenco Certamen USA Winner, Adriana Olivares, took part in a 6-day residency in Erie County produced by Elaine Gardner. Adriana along with 2 dancers and 2 musicians from Flamenco Vivo spent the week giving workshops, lecture demonstrations and performances in schools and gallery spaces in the Buffalo, NY area. One highlight of the residency included a workshop for the WNY “Art Moves Me” therapeutic program where the artists shared the music, dance and song of flamenco with dancers with Parkinson’s. Cynthia Pegado, of PDdance said, “My Parkinson’s dancers were able to dive deeply into both style and technique during the PD Flamenco Master Class at Burchfield Penney Art Center. They are calling their experience “phenomenal”. We are truly touched by the stunning, kind, expert, and professional ways each guest artist practiced their art and interacted with my students.”

Both the Certamen competition and the Western New York residency supported many artists in their journey for growth and exposure as well as provideed an opportunity for outlying communities to experience the rich cultural art form of flamenco.