Flamenco is unlike any other art form, it combines music and dance with tradition as the performers try to take their art to ever higher levels. Visitors who arrive in Seville in May (or Buenos Aires anytime) are enchanted as they wander the streets of the old city where guitar music wafts on the air, mixing with the sensual aroma of gardenias from the nearby public garden wafting in the air, and just around the corner a dozen teenage girls show off their newly learned steps and hand sewn red dresses. Flamenco is intoxicating, and only a fool with no time for magic wouldn’t take the time to stop, look and listen.
Soon you will be able to immerse yourself in one of these transcendent and deeply emotional performances when Noche Flamenca arrives in Great Barrington. The company stars the sublime and legendary dancer Soledad Barrio, and will be performing at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center on May 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. At the Mahaiwe, the company will present a new program, “Ramas de Olivo” (“Olive Branches”), in memory of Olive Wong, the company’s mentor and friend, and will feature guest performances by famed flamenco dancers Alejandro Granados and Miguel Tellez.
Under the direction of Martín Santangelo, the award-winning Noche Flamenca has become Spain’s most successful touring company and is recognized as the most authentic flamenco touring company in the field today. Formed in 1993 by Santangelo and his Bessie award-winning wife Soledad Barrio, the company regularly performs to enthralled audiences throughout the globe, including regular seasons in New York City and Buenos Aires and return engagements at theaters in Europe, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Egypt, North America, Australia, and Canada.
Martín Santangelo has successfully brought to the stage the essence, purity, and integrity of one of the world’s most complex and mysterious art forms without the use of tricks or gimmicks. All aspects of flamenco—dance, song, and music—are interrelated and given equal weight in Noche Flamenca’s performances, creating a true communal spirit within the company and personifying the very heart and soul of flamenco. Soledad Barrio is renowned for her profound Seguiriya and Soleo (two essential dances in the flamenco canon) and has been deemed the “Baryshnikov of flamenco.”
In support of its mission to educate and enlighten audiences about flamenco, the company offers extensive residency programs worldwide that reach out to people of all ages. Noche Flamenca’s artistic integrity has been recognized with awards from the National Dance Project (2006 and 2009), the National Endowment for the Arts (annually since 2007), and the Lucille Lortel Award for Special Theatrical Experience (2003), among others. For more information, visit www.nocheflamenca.com
My colleague Deborah Jowitt at the Village Voice wrote: ““These days you can see ‘new’ flamenco, with show-off smolder and moves borrowed from other forms. But the gritty, no-nonsense performances by Noche Flamenca get to the dark heart of flamenco and inflame it with their artistry… [Soledad Barrio’s] arms and fluent hands sculpt arcs and circles around her. Her torso forms spirals as she turns. Like all great artists, she is without pretense. Her body is her soul’s instrument and we’re fortunate to be in the same space as her.”
About the Company
Martín Santangelo (Artistic Director) founded Noche Flamenca. He studied flamenco with Ciro, Paco Romero, El Guito, Manolete and Alejandro Granados. He has performed throughout Spain, Japan and North and South America, appearing with Maria Benitez’s Teatro Flamenco, the Lincoln Center Festival of the Arts and Paco Romero’s Ballet Espanol. He also appeared in Julie Taymor’s Juan Darien at Lincoln Center. He choreographed and performed in Eduardo Machado’s Deep Song, directed by Lynne Taylor-Corbett. He choreographed a production of Romeo and Juliet at the Denver Theater Center. He has directed and choreographed Bodas de Sangre, The Lower Depths, La Celestina, A Streetcar Named Desire, amongst many other productions in Spain and Buenos Aires
Soledad Barrio(Dancer) founded Noche Flamenca with her husband, Martin Santangelo (Artistic Director) in 1993. With Noche, she has performed for audiences around the globe, including performances in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Canada, Mexico, and extensively throughout the United States. In 2001, she was awarded a “Bessie” (New York Dance and Performance Award) for Outstanding Creative Achievement – the first to be awarded to a flamenco dancer.
Ms. Barrio danced her way through her childhood, performing at fiestas and celebrations. It was after seeing Antonio Gades perform that she was inspired to begin her formal dance training at the age of 16 in Madrid. Her primary and most influential teachers were Maria Magdalena, El Guito, and Manolete. Ms. Barrio made her professional debut as a dancer with El Ballet de Paco Romero in 1981 in El Amor Brujo. She has appeared as soloist with Manuela Vargas, Blanca del Rey, Luisillo, El Guito, Manolete, Cristobal Reyes, El Toleo, Festival Flamenco and many other companies. She is renowned for her profound Seguiriya and Soleo (two essential dances in the flamenco canon) and has been called the “Baryshnikov of flamenco.”
Alejandro Granados (Dancer), considered one of the most accomplished dancers in Spain, has toured the world as a soloist dancer with the Spanish Ballet of Madrid. He has danced in The National Ballet of Spain with Carmen Cortez and is now a soloist with Miguel Narros in “Fedra”. Mr. Granados is a featured artist and prestigious choreographer with the companies Mario Maya, Compañía Andaluza, La Choni Compañía Flamenca and Cristina Hoyos. His work has been presented in famous and renowned international flamenco festivals such as Festival de Jerez, Bienal de Sevilla, and Lope de Vega Theatre (Seville). He is also a guest artist at the world acclaimed Teatro Albeniz with The Gala International de Danza.
Miguel Tellez (Dancer), was born in Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz). At the age of 11, he began training and performing professionally with the master Fernando Belmonte and his Ballet Albarizuela. In 1994, he moved to Madrid where he performed with the Ballet Anthology of Zarzuela. He has performed and toured internationally with Eduardo Serrano, “The Güito”, Manolete, Carmen Cortés, La Tati, Antonio Reyes, Inmaculada Ortega, María del Mar Moreno, and María Osende. Miguel has danced in highly regarded “tablaos” such as “Casa Patas”, “Corral de la Morería”, “Café Chinitas” and “Las Tablas”. He has participated as a guest artist at Flamenco Festival London, XI Bienal de Sevilla, Festival de Jerez, Suma Flamenca Madrid, Festival Pa’tos Madrid and Beijing (China), Ottawa Flamenco Festival and Teatro Albeniz, among others.
Manuel Gago (Singer) was born in Cadiz to a family of flamenco singer and by age 14 he was singing in flamenco festivals. Later, he began singing for flamenco dancers and has traveled the world, singing in Europe, Asia, South America and the United States.
Jose Jimenez (Singer) was born in Madrid into a gypsy family and at the age of 14 began to sing in prestigious tablaos where flamenco is performed. He has performed and toured internationally with a wide range of flamenco dance companies.
Salva de María (Guitarist) was born in Madrid into a legendary flamenco family. He has collaborated with guitarist Chicuelo, working with artists Miguel Poveda, “La Susi”, Maite Martin Chano Lobato, Israel Galvan, Isabel Bayón, Javier Latorre and “Duquende”.
Eugenio Iglesias (Guitarist) began playing professionally at a very young age where he worked in all the important “tablaos” in Sevilla. He has accompanied many of the greatest flamenco singers and dancers in Spain.
Sol la Argentinita (Dancer) was born in Buenos Aires and performs and tours with numerous flamenco dance companies as well as performing with the Metropolitan Opera. She is a two-time recipient of the Cristina Heeren Foundation scholarship as well as a scholarship recipient of the Jerome Foundation’s Travel and Study Grant and the school at Jacob’s Pillow.
Juana la Chispa (Dancer) began her training in ballet and Spanish dance when she was three years old, training at the Conservatory of Ballet Concierto and at the Milagros Vicente academy of dance. She has studied contemporary and flamenco dance and holds a Master’s degree in choreography from the University of New Mexico.
Performances are May 26 and 27 at 8 p.m. The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box office hours are Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and three hours before show times. For tickets and information, see www.mahaiwe.org or call 413.528.0100.
Update: There are now half price tickets available for both performances if you go to our special Berkshire on Stage offer here.
About the Mahaiwe
The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center is the year-round presenter of world-class music, dance, theater, classic films, “Live in HD” broadcasts, and arts education programs for the southern Berkshires and neighboring regions. The intimate jewel box of a theater opened in 1905 and has been in continuous operation for over 100 years. In 2005, the theater experienced a renaissance as a beautifully restored 681-seat venue that offers a broad range of cultural and community events. Today’s “Mahaiwe Mix” of diverse, high quality programming strives to provide meaningful, memorable entertainment for all ages and interests.
The Mahaiwe is located at 14 Castle Street in Great Barrington, Mass. Box Office Hours: Wednesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and three hours before show times. For tickets and information, see www.mahaiwe.org or call 413.528.0100.