Northwestern Press

Thursday, May 28, 2020

That fiery flamenco on Miller Hall stage

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 by JENNIFER McKEEVER Special to The Press in Focus

With passion, intense emotion and intricate virtuoso guitar playing and footwork, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana presents "The Soul of Flamenco," 8 p.m. March 14, Miller Symphony Hall, 23 N. Sixth St., Allentown.

The program encompasses traditional Flamenco, originating from Andalusia, a province in southern Spain. Flamenco was influenced by Arabic, Judaic and the gypsy cultures. Flamenco is about rich, expressive and percussive music, dance and song with foot stomping, clapping and castanets.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana was founded by Carlota Santana and Roberto Lorca in 1983 with the hopes and dreams to make Flamenco accessible to mainstream audiences.

The company is celebrating its 30th season as the longest established Flamenco troupe in the United States. Lorca died in 1987. Santana has continued the legacy of the troupe, established in New York city, but for the last 10 years based in North Carolina by Santana and associate artistic director Antonio Hidalgo.

"Flamenco is known to be a universal art form with deep emotional expression whether it be sorrow or happiness, feelings of all human beings," says Santana.

Four musicians and six dancers in traditional costumes (including the "Bat da Cola," a dress with a long tail requiring specific training) will storm the stage with fire and elegance in an ensemble that encourages audience participation to clap along or exclaim, "Ole." The two-hour show presents dance solos choreographed by the dancers themselves and group pieces choreographed by Santana and Hidalgo. One piece, "Vida Lita," is based on an Argentinean folk song, and is similar to the Argentinean Tango.

Carlota Santana has been designated "The Keeper Of Flamenco," in recognition of her commitment to creating new works and developing young artists, by Dance Magazine. Santana, performing in venues across the U.S., South America and Spain, has taught classes at universities, served on panels and has received numerous awards.