To the flamenco aficionado (or flamenco-curious), may I note another company you shouldn’t miss: Flamenco’s Next Generation.
“Next Gen” is the pre-professional troupe of the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts, performing every Sunday at 2 p.m. through August 24 at The Lodge. Many of these teen and young-adult dancers and musicians have studied at ISA since they were wee little. They work closely with Benitez, who choreographed many of their dances and introduces each performance.
But if you’re picturing a student recital, think again. Think of this as an opportunity to see the next flamenco professionals--a someday Maria Benitez or Juan Siddi, a future Antonio Granjero or Estafania Ramirez--while they're up and coming. This hour-long performance of diverse solo and ensemble dances, accompanied by professional guitarist Joaquin Gallegos and singer Veronica Medina (and sometimes, student guitarist Isaiah Martinez), will leave you inspired and awed.
Jaylena Lujan (who performed Maria’s favorite classical Spanish dance, “Cordova,” at this Sunday’s show), Miquela Sanchez-Wiegel (who has begun performing professionally in Entre Flamenco), Janira Cordova and Simone Jaramillo are just a few of the names that might someday make you say, “Hey, I remember them 'when'!”
Full disclosure: I have studied flamenco at ISA and from other teachers in Santa Fe for several years. If this makes me biased to the flamenco form, I own it. It also makes me aware of just how difficult these young performers' vuelta quebradas, their floreos, their footwork and marking and spins, really are. These girls have got it.
Next Generation performs at the Maria Benitez Theater (in the Lodge of Santa Fe, a hotel on North St. Francis Drive) every Sunday at 2 p.m. through August 24. Click here for tickets, or call 505-467-3773. Next Gen will also perform on the Plaza for Santa Fe Fiesta, on September 6 (time TBA).
And if you feel the pull to move to flamenco rhythms, the Institute for Spanish Arts's fall session starts September 8, 2014, with classes for children, teens and adults. Sign up online at http://www.institutespanisharts.org.