Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana Presents All Sides of Flamenco

Jan. 24, 2012

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, the premier Flamenco Company in the United States will perform Saturday, February 4, at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (SMPAC). The evening begins at 6:30 pm with a pre-show talk featuring Flamenco Vivo dance Julia Chacón, with co-moderators Alyson Chavez, Director of Education for the Milwaukee Ballet, and Chad Piechocki, SMPAC Director. The performance begins at 7:30 pm.

Flamenco Vivo’s program, La Pasión Flamenca, will present two sides of the flamenco art form, the traditional and La Pasión Latina showcasing “Bailes de Ida y Vuelta,” which highlights the Latino influences on the flamenco art form.

La Pasión Flamenca and La Pasión Latina contrast the influences of the Latin American and Spanish/multicultural influences on flamenco. “Bailes de Ida y Vuelta” explores the extraordinary journey of how the traditional Flamenco sounds and styles have been modified and inspired by the introduction of New World flair. Centuries of continuous travel and cultural exchange between Spain and Latin America have brought changes to the rhythm, movement and music of the traditional Spanish Flamenco.

Since the early days of Spain’s outreach, travelers, sailors and artists have gone back and forth from Latin America to Spain, each one bringing their ideas, music, songs and dances, developing the genre called Bailes de Ida y Vuelta. Most popular of these dances include the Guajiras, the Colombianas, the Milonga and the Vidalita.

The Colombianas has become homage to the Colombian peoples, though why this particular form did get the name Colombianas is debatable. The song does have a refrain that says “Oye mi Voz Colombiana” and was first performed in the mid-1930s by famed singer Pepe Marchena.

The Milonga is another form brought to Spain in the 19th Century by farmers, artists, bullfighters and soldiers returning from the Americas and is based on Argentina folk songs.

The Vidalita is also influenced by Argentinean folk music and for this performance is combined with the flamenco farruca, which originally came from Asturias in northern Spain.

The Guajiras, with influences from Cuba, has a soft melodic sound and evokes the aire of this tropic island of hot days, sweet times and beautiful women. Spanish women immigrants in Cuba were often referred to as “guajiras.”

Rumba/Salsa, influenced by Afro-Cuban rhythms, is fast, lively and percussive. The Rumba exemplifies the bridging of cultures between the Cuban salsa and flamenco modalities.

La Pasión Flamenca, the second half of the program includes “Mujeres,” a work for the female dancers in the traditional bata de cola (dress with a train) using abanicos y mantones fans and shawls). A love duet is most traditional in flamenco and is shown here through the Tientos, which is a 4/4, very sensuous rhythm. A solo by the bailarin (male dancer) demonstrates the best in traditional men’s dance, strong posture, rapid footwork and a sense of pride and accomplishment not to be beat!

The finale is a traditional ending for a flamenco performance, Fin De Fiesta/Bulerías. The flamenco party ends “por Bulerías,” a “jam session” in which everyone takes their turn to “show their stuff.” The Bulerías is one of the most vivacious and difficult dances and requires a great deal of grace and sense of rhythm.

For more information or to purchase tickets call the Box Office at 414-766-5049 or visit the website at www.southmilwaukeepac.org.

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