Flamenco Vivo in the Capital Region

6Hilos on Recital Hall stage. Photo by Kim Engel

Year: 2021-2022
DanceForce Member: Kim Engel
Artist: Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Audience: 567
County: Albany

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, plans were put in place to bring Flamenco Vivo to a venue in the Capital Region for multiple performances. It had been 10 years since the company had last visited the area. Led by Artistic Director Carlota Santana, the ensemble is the nation’s most prominent flamenco and Spanish dance company, dedicated to the belief that the universal spirit of flamenco, a multicultural art form, has the power to build bridges between cultures.

This engagement was originally scheduled for October 2020 at the UAlbany Performing Arts Center as part of the Dance in Albany series. It was postponed due to the pandemic. In pushing the project to October 2021, there was great uncertainty as to whether financial constraints would make it impossible for the original venue to host so alternate locations were explored. Thanks to a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation ArtsCONNECT grant, the UAlbany Performing Arts Center was indeed able to host. Planning for the project was handled by DF member and UAlbany Performing Arts Center Associate Director Kim Engel along with a team from Flamenco Vivo: Artistic Director Carlota Santana, Executive Director Hanaah Bates and company agent Cathy Pruzan. Promotion was handled by UAlbany Performing Arts Center staff with support from the company.

The residency took place from October 1-4, 2021. The schedule included:

An Evening of Flamenco Music and Film – October 1
Local flamenco guitarist Maria Zemantauski played a solo set followed by a screening of Flamenco Vivo’s 6Hilos (6 Threads) which pays homage to the Golden Age of flamenco and features several artists who performed with the company on Saturday night.

Public performance of Tablao Flamenco – October 2
Tablao performances are highly improvisational in nature and offer audiences a rare, up-close opportunity to watch the dynamic interplay between flamenco song and dance. The performance was attended by the University community and the general public from the region.

Public performance of Tablao Flamenco – October 3
In connection to the UAlbany residency but as part of a separate project, the company traveled to Washington County for a performance at Hubbard Hall. This engagement had been scheduled to take place in October 2020 but was also postponed due to the pandemic. The two projects were purposefully dependent on each other, and each was supported with a separate allocation of funding from the NYS DanceForce. The success and completion of one project helped ensure the success and completion of the other.

Morning matinee performance of Tablao Flamenco – October 4
The program was repeated once again but this time for an audience of area high school students studying Spanish language and/or World Cultures.

Cante workshop – October 4
Laura Peralta of Flamenco Vivo conducted a workshop with students who are members of the UAlbany Chamber Singers.

Dance workshop – October 4
Fanny Aras (Ara) of Flamenco Vivo conducted a dance workshop with students taking a Modern II class at Skidmore College.

“WOW, Flamenco Vivo knocked it out of the park last night! The audience felt their passion, love of improvisation and masterful understanding of the form.” ~ audience member

“Our students really loved the experience and were amazed by the performers.” ~ H.S. teacher

“It was a wonderful workshop, and I know the students really enjoyed it. I do hope we can plan for future opportunities like this.” ~ UAlbany Choral Director

“Thank you so much for the opportunity to perform. The artists of Flamenco Vivo were lovely to meet and talk with…they were very supportive of me.” ~ Maria Zemantauski, local artist

“What an incredible benefit to our Skidmore community! As we work to decolonize and diversify our dance offerings in higher education, the Flamenco Vivo master class was a welcome addition to our curriculum. Our students shared how excited they are to continue to engage in the flamenco dance discipline in the future. ~ Skidmore Dance Department Chair