Flamenco Teaching Residency/Central NY

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Photo by Angelica Escoto

Year: 2017-2018
DanceForce Member: Lois Welk
Artists: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Community Partners: Atomic Toms, Binghamton NY; Firehouse Theatre, Johnson City NY; SUNY Binghamton, Johnson City NY; Syracuse University Dept of Drama; West Kortwright Centre, East Meredith NY
Audience: 356
Counties: Broome, Delaware, Onondaga

Flamenco, in all its magical and mysterious glory, seduced everyone who came in contact with Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana during their residency in Central New York, Nov 3-5, 2017.

The residency started with a Master Class at SUNY Binghamton, followed by a Master Class at Syracuse University, a Public presentation as part of Binghamton First Friday, a Community Beginner Workshop with reception at Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City, NY and closed with a lecture demonstration that inspired a standing ovation from a packed house at the West Kortright Center, East Meredith NY. The project was enthusiastically received, particularly in Broome Co and Delaware Co, where there is growing interest in Flamenco with few opportunities to enjoy the art form. When asked if their experience inspired them to see more or do more flamenco- 100% of survey respondents said: YES!

For 43% of survey respondents, this was their first exposure to live flamenco dance and music. The residency launched three new presenter/venue partnerships– Atomic Tom’s (Binghamton, NY), Schorr Family Firehouse Stage (Johnson City) and the West Kortright Center (East Meredith, NY). It was the first Flamenco performance in the 30 year history of the West Kortright Center.

Beyond their brilliant performances and expert teaching, the four artists– Laura Peralta, Ricardo Santiago, Sol Koeraus “La Argentenita” and Pedro Jiménez—also connected personally with nearly everyone who participated in the events, either over Spanish tapas at the West Kortright, or at a community reception at Firehouse Stage, or over lunch with Syracuse University faculty. This made the events even more meaningful and memorable for the participants.

We found new ways to engage audiences by blurring the lines between educational services and performative events. For example, the Community Workshop was open to observers, who paid admission to watch the class in a cabaret setting with refreshments, followed by a reception with the artists. People loved hearing the artists explain the basics and loved being able to sit on the sidelines watching friends and family take class. As a result, it was a very family-friendly and intergenerational experience. It’s a model we’ll use in the future.

Regarding future flamenco programming in this region, new ideas and potential resources are coming to light, and that may be the most valuable outcome of this residency.

Here’s what the audience had to say-
“I first saw Flamenco in Spain. This was just as good maybe better! Thank you.”
“Our family is from Spain; it is great to have Flamenco in Binghamton”
“More flamenco, Please”
“I want more, more, more. Longer workshop. Weekly! Thank you so much! Great experience!”