Flamenco Certamen USA

Amelia Hernandez, 2014 Flamenco Certamen winner. Photo by Angelica Escoto.

Year: 2017-2018
DanceForce Member: Carlota Santana
Artists: Carlota Santana, Leslie Roybal
Community Partners: Ballet Nepantla; Maria Zemanteuski; National Museum of Dance, Saratoga Springs; Saratoga Senior Center
Audience: 335
Counties: New York, Saratoga

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana and the Center for Flamenco Arts presented the Flamenco Certamen USA. The only competition of its kind, The Flamenco Certamen brings emerging talent to the public eye while fostering the continued development and exposure of the flamenco art form. This project supported Flamenco Vivo’s goal of broadening outreach to the entire community and of making the flamenco art form a part of mainstream dance in the USA. It also provided one of our winners the opportunity to join The Company for outreach events in Saratoga County.

The Certamen was announced through our social media forums (Facebook/Twitter,etc), digital marketing, NY cultural publicity platforms, and fliers. Eligible applicants submitted a statement of intent, a CV resume, and short video clip. Six finalists were chosen by a panel of national flamenco artists to present a solo at 7:00pm on Friday evening October 20th at the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center. The event was open to the public. The finalists were judged by a panel of dance professionals including Gabriela Estrada of Ballet Hispanico, Roberto Lara of Capulli Mexican Dance Company, and Isaac Tovar who is a former winner of the Madrid Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Español y Flamenco.

The Center for Flamenco Arts provided each finalist with eight hours of studio space as well as periodic mentorship by a guitarist and singer. Finalists had one hour of coaching time with flamenco artist and scholar, La Meira, and Center Director Leslie Roybal.

The Certamen winners are 1) Lydia Johnson-Gallegos, 2) Rocio Conde, 3) Maria Pulgarin. These dancers won cash prizes, free studio space and the first-place artist won the opportunity to visit Madrid, Spain and participate in the classes and performances associated with the Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Español y Flamenco 2018.
This project was highly successful and reached an even broader audience than before. In addition to the competition on October 20th, we enjoyed a performance during the judges’ deliberations by Ballet Nepantla; a dance company that fuses Ballet and Folklórico. Also our second place winner, Rocio Conde, joined the Company in a series of outreach events in Saratoga Springs, NY which included a lecture demonstration at the Saratoga Senior Center as well as an open community workshop and performance at the National Museum of Dance. These performances are integral in bringing the greater community together and in creating opportunities for early career artists to share their work.

“Thank you so much for such a great experience and event. I will NEVER forget that night. I danced with all my heart and felt encouraged and supported by the Flamenco Vivo organization and the audience. Everything was incredible.” (Rocio Conde – 2nd place Winner)

“Thank you so much! Our members are still raving about your performance!” (Colleen Kelly – Director of Programs and Special Events Saratoga Senior Center)