Entertainment » Theatre

Second Annual Philadelphia Flamenco Festival

Wednesday Oct 16, 2013

Philadelphia's second bi-annual Flamenco Festival will have its two-week run from March 1-16, 2014, boasting a series of performances, film screenings and master workshops by leading contemporary flamenco artists including Israel Galvan, Pastora Galvan and Rosario Toledo.

Presented by Pasion y Arte (PyA), Philadelphia's premiere all-female flamenco dance-company, the festival will showcase new groundbreaking work by Israel Galvan, one of flamenco's greatest mavericks. Galvan will perform two evenings of solo performances, and then present two evenings of choreographed solos, which will be danced by his sister, Pastora Galvan. Modern-feminist flamenco artist Rosario Toledo will make her triumphant return to Philly by presenting three performances of "Tapas," a series of works to be developed by Toledo and performed by Philadelphia-based artists Eun Jung Choi, Megan Foley and Germaine Ingram, during Toledo's upcoming residency with PyA. Toledo will perform in "Vengo," a new solo piece, and finally "Complices," which was created for PyA during the 2012 Festival.

The festival's educational component, which will be spearheaded by Educational Curator, Michelle Heffner Hayes, will offer a symposia and public discussion of experts with different perspectives on flamenco's history, traditions, import and trajectory, as well as screenings of films that speak to Flamenco past and present. For new comers, the Flamenco for Everyone program will breakdown rhythms and provide a behind the scenes look into the art form. Other educational opportunities will be separate master classes with Ms. Toledo and Ms. Galvan, and a master class with Israel Galvan, who has not offered any such opportunities in the United States in over a decade.

Cultural and educational partners throughout the city include Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, Drexel University's Mandell Theater, the Kimmel Center, International House, WHYY, Temple University and Bryn Mawr College, each will play host to these exciting festival events. Performance tickets range from $10-$35 with Festival Passes starting at $90.

"Building on the extremely successful first Philadelphia Flamenco Festival in 2012, this year's Festival will continue to develop new audiences and understanding of the evolving flamenco art form by bringing internationally renowned flamenco performers/choreographers to Philadelphia," said PyA Artistic Director Elba Hevia y Vaca. "We are thrilled to be able to feature the artistry of the Galvans and Rosario Toledo, who, by offering differing perspectives on flamenco's century's old aesthetics, keeps the form relevant and revitalized in the 21st century."

Acknowledged worldwide as a major force in revolutionizing flamenco into a serious contemporary art form, Israel Galvan was honored with Spain's prestigious National Dance Award. His work represents a new vision for flamenco. It is both respectful of the form's many traditions, but also a reinvention that embraces other dance forms, humor, narrative, and theatricality in order to expand the art form and speak to new audiences.

Pastora Galvan has been acclaimed worldwide as an extraordinary traditional flamenco dancer, perpetuating the Galvan tradition. She uses character work to bend the frame of dramatic narrative. In "Pastora," which will be presented two nights and choreographed by Mr. Galvan, "Pastora" disobeys flamenco archetypes of female beauty, by embracing ugliness, vulgarity and absurdity. As she digs into the more physically strenuous aspects of Flamenco, vigorously stamping out the zapateado (foot percussion) and exaggerating female characterizations with irony and relish, Ms. Galvan uses the character work to bend the frame of dramatic narrative.

Rosario Toledo's radical investigative work uses humor, theatricality, the deconstruction of gender roles, her process of building from phrase work and improvisations. Toledo masters the strict vocabulary of the dance while re-imagining and re-purposing it in her own distinctly expressive voice. The Flamenco Festival will involve dancers from other dance genres as well as the PyA Company in order to explore the possibilities inherent in the mixing of techniques, movement, and aesthetics in a laboratory setting. The collaboration will expand the artistic capacity of multiple dancers in creating new hybrid forms of expression, especially under the skilled creative direction of Ms. Toledo whose previous collaborations have embraced theater artists, modern dancers, and musicians from beyond the flamenco world, all in pursuit of a new, modern flamenco.

"Rosario's residency and the Festival will continue our objective to build connections to the new Spanish flamenco masters in order to inform both our region's audiences and dance community," continued Hevia y Vaca.

Pasion Y Arte (PyA), founded in 2000 by Elba Hevia y Vaca, seeks to simultaneously challenge, preserve, and strengthen flamenco's traditions with a deep respect for the form's classical artistic integrity. PyA pushes flamenco's boundaries, embracing the tension between modernist and traditional approaches, while drawing from her personal and professional experiences. Using traditional technical flamenco knowledge coupled with the assimilation of other dance forms, mixed media, and explorations into narrative and symbolic story telling, PyA brings new dance approaches to the American flamenco and dance communities, exploring knowledge beyond flamenco's ancient Gypsy heritage with its strict conventions of dance, production styles, and gender stereotyping. Ms. Hevia y Vaca creates flamenco in a feminist context, re-situating characteristics of strength and dedication, which have historically been centered on the male dancers, musicians, and singers of flamenco. PyA's mission is to bring the flamenco tradition into the 21st century by addressing the role of women and by exploring avant-garde approaches to the art form.

For more information regarding the 2014 Philadelphia Flamenco festival and for festival schedules, visit www.pasionyarteflamenco.org.


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