2022 Flamenco Certamen USA

Estudio Winner Natallia Basava performing at the Bruno Walter Auditorium alongside Certamen mentors and musicians. Photo by Lisa Greenberg.

Year: 2022-2023
DanceForce Member: Carlota Santana
Artists: Leslie Roybal; Carlota Santana
Community Partner: Lake Placid Center for the Arts
Audience: 254
Counties: Essex; New York

In October of 2022, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana presented the 8th annual Flamenco Certamen USA, which offers unparalleled support for up-and-coming flamenco dancers. Although the Flamenco Certamen is inherently a competition, the primary goal of this year’s project was to create opportunities for exponential growth and to bring a sense of unity among all those who participated through a week-long development residency. It also aimed to expand the growth of flamenco culture and artistry throughout New York State.

Nine (9) rising flamenco artists residing throughout North America were selected to participate in the Flamenco Certamen USA. Based on their application and experience, they were placed into one of two levels: Estudio (student level) or Tablao (pre-professional level). From October 7th – 12, 2022, the participants attended a weeklong residency at Lake Placid Center for the Arts where they worked in depth with professional mentors and musicians. The focus for this residency was to build their competition solos, while also generating valuable connections with esteemed professionals working in the field. Additionally, Flamenco Vivo offered an introductory flamenco Community Class on Wednesday, October 12th where students from the Lake Placid area learned key components of flamenco techniques. The participating students were also invited to attend a Certamen dress rehearsal at LPCA’s theater that same evening which included a feedback session to help expand understanding of flamenco dance, music, and culture.

The final competition took place on Friday, October 14, 2022 at The Bruno Walter Auditorium at the NYPL for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. Audiences were invited to participate in-person, by attending the live show, and virtually, by purchasing a viewing pass, thus expanding the reach of this program far beyond the borders of NYC. At the final competition, the finalists were evaluated by a panel of professional community artists who determined expanded prize offerings. The 1st Prize winner Estudio Level received $500 and Tablao Level, $1000. We continue to work with the Madrid Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Español y Flamenco, Flamenco Danza Estudio and the Festival de Jerez to provide scholarships for further study, and our newest prize this year is the opportunity for one dance to perform in Tablao Las Carboneras, one of Spain’s most prestigious tablaos.

“Everything was planned so carefully and executed so beautifully. I came back and started studying again… THANK YOU… for giving us all this opportunity to study with such depth that it takes people years to find and study in Spain!” – Leilani Chirino

“I honestly forgot it was a competition until the night of– that’s how wonderful of a group and week was.” – Anonymous Participant