Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana in Western New York

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana. Photo by Angelica Escoto

Year: 2018-2019
DanceForce Member: Elaine Gardner
Artists: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Community Partners: Buffalo Parkinsons Dance; Buffalo State College; Burchfield Penney Art Center; Nichols School, Buffalo; Pick of the Crop Dance; SUNY Fredonia Dept of Theatre & Dance; Tapestry Charter School, Buffalo
Audience: 1,222
Counties: Chautauqua, Erie

Dear NYS DanceForce,

Thank you very much for this opportunity. This was a gratifying experience that was incredible for me; and it was to see the work that Flamenco Vivo does to keep flamenco going beyond the borders of Manhattan. The community in Buffalo welcomed us with open arms and this exchange was a highlight for my career!!

– Adriana Olivares (2018 Certamen Winner)

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana had a one-week residency in western New York from April 9 to 15 2019. The artists were Glenda (Sol) Koeraus, vocalist; Raphael Brunn, guitarist; and Laura Peralta, Adriana Maria Olivares Gonzales (Certamen winner), and Emilio Jose Ochando Talero, dancers.

The company performed services for elementary, high school, and college students; senior citizen Parkinsons movement clients; and the general public. The residency included several venues throughout the City of Buffalo (Erie County) and SUNY Fredonia (Chautauqua County). The culminating public performance was at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, a nationally regarded regional center for performances and art installations.

The company traveled as an ensemble of five for each activity and was an ambassador for both the historical and current cultural relevance of flamenco. Many of the participants and audiences had never experienced live dance and music. Five local individuals representing a community coalition of partners represent a new development in forging special and new partnerships for the DanceForce in the WNY region:

• Deborah Lippa-Ciotta – Tapestry Charter School/Creative Dance for Children
• Joy Guarino – Associate Professor of Dance, Buffalo State College
• Cynthia Pegado – Buffalo Parkinsons Dance
• Richard Falkenstein – Associate Professor of Music, Canisius College
• Samantha Kenney – Chair, Dance Department, SUNY Fredonia

These practicing artists took on additional responsibilities in securing the performance and workshop locations and tech support. This was the first time the Burchfield Penney Art Center hosted a DanceForce public performance. Forging new community partnerships was a primary goal of the residency. The residency was a huge success for Flamenco Vivo as well as the host sites and their constituents. Underserved populations were served at Tapestry Charter School in the city of Buffalo. Virtually all of the participants in the Buffalo State College dance workshop were people of color and were new to flamenco. The Parkinsons Dance participants received a pre-visit preparation workshop to better take advantage of the company’s workshop and performance.

Additional community participants:

• Naila Ansari, Visiting Professor of Dance, Buffalo state College (workshop)
• Jennifer J. Toohey, Assistant Professor of Theater, Buffalo State College
• Modern Languages Department faculty members, Nichols School and Canisius College

The planning process began in January of 2018 when I reached out to colleagues in WNY to ascertain interest in bringing Flamenco Vivo to their communities. Burchfield Penney and Buffalo State College were two of the first to commit to the project. Tapestry School, Nichols School, SUNY Fredonia and Canisius College quickly indicated their interest in participating. The planning took place via email, on-site meetings, phone calls and last minute texts to secure parking when Governor Cuomo played a surprise visit to Buffalo state on the same morning as one of our events.

Canisius College promoted their performance which was free to their community through an e-newsletter. Nichols School promoted the residency on Facebook, through Instagram, and in their e-newsletter. Buffalo State College included information in their spring program and the Burchfield promoted the performance through their marketing department.

The project overall was extremely successful, exceeding projected attendance, with the participants, hosts, and audiences raving about the skilled artists and their personable and sophisticated ways of communicating with each audience. The only shortcomings were one poorly attended workshop at SUNY Fredonia and the difficulty of finding and transporting a dance floor that suited all the performance spaces.