A Palo Seco: Rebeca Tomas Flamenco

Rebeca Tomas
Year: 2014-2015
DanceForce Member: Cynthia Williams
Artist: Rebeca Tomas
Community Partners: Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Audience: 408
County: Ontario

The project was to bring A Palo Seco, a contemporary Flamenco music and dance company, to Geneva, NY for a three-day teaching and performing residency. One of the goals was to engage HWS and Geneva community residents with the culturally rich art form of Flamenco, which has not been presented in this area for many years. Our geographic location in Upstate New York is economically disadvantaged, mainly rural, and culturally underserved; this geographic isolation coupled with a weak economy makes engagement with professional dance and music artists rare. Additionally, a focus of the project was to connect with different segments of the Geneva area community, and to include children K-3, grades 4-8, college students, and Spanish and Hispanic community members through a diverse set of classes, lecture-demonstrations, and performance offerings.

The planning process was a several month long process of conversations with Rebecca Tomas, Artistic Director of A Palo Seco and focused conversations with Geneva, NY partners such as North Street School, West Street School, St. Francis-St. Stephen’s School, various departments and programs at HWS Colleges (Dance, Music, Theatre, Spanish and Hispanic Studies, Intercultural Affairs Office) and create a schedule of activities.

Activities: Master Class in Flamenco Movement and Music Wednesday, April 15 11:50-1:15 with Rebecca Tomas and Pedro Cortes; Master Class in Flamenco Movement and Music Thursday, April 16 10:20-11:45 with Rebecca Tomas and Pedro Cortes; Lecture Demonstration Thursday, April 16 with full company (7 dancers and musicians) at West Street Elementary School, 6:30-7:30 p.m.; Lecture Demonstration Friday, April 17 with Rebecca Tomas, Pedro Cortes and dancers at St. Francis- St. Stephen’s School, 1:30-2:30 p.m.; Performance of full company Friday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. HWS Colleges Winn Seeley Dance Theatre; Artist-Audience Talk Back with full company following the performance.

Principal artists involved: Rebecca Tomas, Artistic Director of A Palo Seco; Pedro Cortes, Music Director A Palo Seco. Company dancers and musicians:

Promotional and marketing activities: HWS Daily Update feature article on the hws.edu website; radio (WEOS) announcements; national NPR affiliate WEOS interview with Artistic Director Rebecca Tomas; Finger Lakes Times (Geneva and community newspaper) feature article 4/16/24; Finger Lakes Times photo from West Street School lecture-demonstration the following week; HWS Dance department e-list announcement of master classes, lecture demonstrations, and performance; press releases with photo and article sent to newspapers and print outlets in Geneva, Syracuse, Rochester, and Ithaca venues; posters and fliers posted electronically and in print versions; facebook announcements through DanceForce facebook page, personal facebook pages, and a Flamenco list-serve.

Community and organizational partners: HWS Dance Department, West Street School, St. Francis St. Stephen’s School; HWS Intercultural Affairs Office, Department of Spanish and Hispanic Studies. New partnerships were St. Francis St Stephen’s School, a K-8 private school in Geneva, NY. New community outreach: West Street School PAWS Night, an evening event for district families and children.

New audiences included the parents and families of West Street School children because of the PAWS Night program; Rebecca Tomas of A Palo Seco posted information about the HWS residency and performance to a Flamenco list-serve, and we had new, non-Geneva audience members from Rochester, NY and Ithaca, NY because of that outreach, and a community member from Canandaigua, NY who came for both master classes and the performance. Through the Intercultural Affairs Office at HWS I also made contact with a woman in Geneva who invited a contingent of Spanish people who came from Rochester just to see the performance.