Festival Flamenco comes to Albuquerque on June 9 and will run for nine days with performances and workshops throughout the city. Marisol Encinias, the festival’s executive director, said the goal for this year's selection of artists was to challenge expectations while having performances that complement one another.
The festival has brought in 12 international dance companies along with one New Mexico company. The importance of the art form in New Mexico established the demand to hold the festival here, Encinias said.
“I understand that flamenco has become something that's very important to us … And I'm very interested in continuing to nurture the role of flamenco in our community,” Encinias said.
Opening night performances are from Daniel Doña Compañía de Danza and Israel Galván y Compañía. They both sat down for a conversation — Encinias interpreting from Spanish to English — before opening night.
Doña’s work, “Entre Hilos y Huesos,” is based upon Spanish history of war and trauma – attempting to communicate how society can heal through art. He created the piece as “a poetic act around the fight for freedom and historical memory,” Doña said. While the historical significance is Spanish, Doña said, having a complete understanding of it is not integral to experience the piece.
“The work is full of symbolism and other moments that you don't need to have a complete understanding of – or a connection to – … in order for it to reach you,” Doña said, interpreted by Encinias.
The ability of artists to connect with the audiences, Encinias said, is one of the key aspects of the festival because of how personal the work can be.
“The deeper the artist goes into something that is important to them, the more impactful that work is. That's one of the things that you'll see in the festival this week is that each artist really is interpreting – saying something that is important to them,” Encinias said.
Galván’s piece, “La Edad de Oro,” was performed at the festival in the past. However, Encinias said that one of the key aspects of flamenco is that it is never the same and constantly has new life.
This piece in particular, Galván said, has always been relevant and meaningful to him. He created it in 2004 – pulling from history with the title, “The Golden Age,” while also creating something new.
“Sometimes you have a (piece of) work and it kind of dies. It just goes away and you're like, ‘Okay … there's not a connection to that work anymore.’ With ‘La Edad de Oro,’ that has not been the case. There's an element in the DNA of the work that continues to be relevant,” Galván said, interpreted by Encinias.
As an artist, Galván has historically pushed the boundaries of the traditional flamenco art form, Encinias said.
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“He broke all of those norms in the way that he does flamenco. What he does is he says, ‘How can he be true to the way that he does flamenco, and at the same time, draw into what he believes are the most essential elements and true elements of what flamenco is?’” Encinias said.
Throughout the festival, there will be 114 performers that participate in workshops and performances. Both Galván and Doña said that the chance to work with and meet other artists they are inspired by is a highlight for them.
“To enjoy the work of other artists and to be able to share the stage with Daniel – someone I have respected – is a gift,” Galván said, interpreted by Encinias.
Maddie Pukite is the editor-in-chief at the Daily Lobo. They can be contacted at email@example.com on Twitter @maddogpukite