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Flamenco flame ignites in N.M.

International dancers show their fancy feet work to UNM at the Rodey Theater

The Festival Flamenco has returned to UNM, bringing with it some of the finest dancers the world has to offer.

The National Institute of Flamenco has been sponsoring the annual Festival Flamenco for 15 years, and this year's festival promises to be just as exciting as previous installments.

The festival is the largest flamenco event of its kind. The event attracts visitors from around the world who come to learn from and perform with some of the finest international flamenco artists.

The guest artists, along with teachers at the institute, will offer classes and workshops in dance, guitar, singing, technique and repertory. The classes are available to performers of all levels; children and adults are welcome.

Performances began June 9 with Son y Soniquete - an evening of music and dance under the stars at the National Cultural Center. The show included combinations of Latin rhythms and flamenco known as "Rumba Flamenco" performed by musicians from the United States, Spain and South America.

Flamenco enthusiasts also can catch UNM's own Joaquin Encinias, Omayra Amaya and Company June 14 at 8 p.m. in Rodey Theater. This will be an evening of powerful flamenco solo work and choreographed ensemble pieces with a definitive urban thrust.

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I had the pleasure of attending a rehearsal for this show, and I was impressed. The choreography combines with sultry rhythms to produce sensual and aggressive movement. The dynamic lighting, which uses silhouettes and solo spotlighting, brings out the jazzy undertones and fast footwork. Parts of the show also have a strong traditional component. I recommend it to those who like variety and are up for an adventure.

Maria PagÇs' Company will take center stage June 15 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. This show will feature the solo artistry of Juan Andes Maya and Maria PagÇs. Dance critic Anna Kisselgoff called PagÇs' Perro Andaluz, "an impressive choreographed group piece."

Other performances will include the 2nd Annual Professional/Semi-Professional Flamenco Dance Competition June 16 at 7 p.m. in Keller Hall and the grand finale Fiesta Flamenco June 19-22 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. in Rodey Theatre.

Tickets may be purchased at the UNM Ticket Office or call 277-4569.

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