DanceForce Member: James Lemons
Artist: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Community Partner: Lake Placid Center for the Arts
Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana spent three days in rural, upstate New York sharing the joy of Flamenco with the local community through three separate initiatives: a performance for local school children grades 4 – 12 as a part of the Lake Placid Center for the Arts’ School Day Matinee program, a masterclass teaching the basic moves and history of Flamenco and a public showing of the company’s newest work De La Frontera. The programs took place April 29 – May 1, 2022.
Local schools from a 60-mile radius, including students from the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Central School Districts, witnessed a performance of De La Frontera as a field trip during the school day. The performance was followed by an engaging and informative Q&A session with the company. This was the first School Day Matinee performance in 24 months due to disruptions caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The impact of the performance, which details and demonstrates many of the customs and costumes associated with Flamenco, amongst all age levels was noticeable.
The following morning, in partnership with the Lake Placid School of Dance, a masterclass in Flamenco was offered free-of-charge to the community. The class was lead by lead dance and choreographer Laura Peralta. Turnout for and interest in this masterclass was quite high – with more than 30 students taking part in the workshop. The youngest was 7 years old – the oldest in their 60s proving the power of the dance form in bringing people of different backgrounds together.
The public performance of De La Frontera occurred on Saturday, May 1, 2022 to an excited and energetic audience. It is notable that many audience members had taken part in morning workshop and parents were brought by the children, who had seen the school performance. One father, who came alone, noted after the show that his son insisted he come see the show so they could talk about it together awards. As the father stated, “My son just wouldn’t let it go.” It is important to note the audience response – one that was beyond enthusiastic, including multiple breaks for clapping, cheering and an immediate standing ovation.
Presenting Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana through different programs that culminated in a public performance allowed different segments of the community to be introduced to this artform. It allowed the region to diversify its cultural offerings and reinforce that a global approach to arts and culture is important – especially in regions that are ethnically homogeneous.
Carlota Santana, founder of the company, noted afterwards, “I’m so happy it feels like Flamenco found a second home in Lake Placid.”