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Flamenco | Jerez Festival: kilometer zero of flamenco dancing



Germany, Israel, California, New Mexico, Singapore. They look like characters from Stealing moneybut in fact they are the home of five friends who are friends thanks Jerez Flamenco Festival. They met here in 2018, and he joined them Dancing hobby (They all dance at different levels in their original places) And his desire for knowledge sun cradles Flemish. Since then, due to a pandemic, they’ve held back a week in February to really enjoy it and keep going deeper: workshop in the morning, concerts at night. They meet for dinner the night before kick-off, catch up on the past year and prepare to fully experience the week of flamenco that awaits them.

2023 is the twenty-seventh edition of the festival. Between February 24 and March 11, two or three shows a day were given in different scenic venues in Jerez de la Frontera, with the Villamarta Theater in the lead and almost all tickets sold out. They are not usually great premieres. This year, the program included some premieres at the last Biennale de Flamenco de Seville – Olga Perisette, Eva Yerbabuena, Lucia Alvarez BinionaIsrael Galvan, Patricia Guerrero, Marco Vargas and Chloe Brühl, Maria Moreno, Paula Comitrie, Among others-, the latest show by the new Princess of Asturias, María Bagis, the National Ballet and local artists such as Maria Jose Franco, Maria del Mar Moreno and Mercedes Ruizor semi-domestic, such as frame flowers.

The audience is basically foreign, Although some performances are approved by the local audience. These days, all kinds of dialects and languages, as many as 38 different nationalities, were heard at the stage doors. But they are true fans. Olga Berich, bailaora, he explains: “I really like the understanding of the audience in Jerez, it’s more open.”

Born in Cordoba in 1975, to this pilora, National Dance Award 2018 In the way of interpretation, the development of his career is closely related to the festival. “Here, even if they don’t relate to what you do, They listen to youI tried it in first person. Despite the fact that she was already into dancing, her show with Belén Maya Sad dances for happy people It gave him the ultimate impetus in 2010.

Pericet came to Jerez this year because He presented his last show which premiered at the Biennale de Seville, lionessAnd But he also spends a week with his audience with a workshop on the style and style of the Bandulaos. Courses (about 40) are the heart of the festival and they are organized by the latter, who decides the subject(s) and the teachers/artists who are to teach them: usually, names of special relevance in that year or closely linked in their career to the festival. Mainly foreign women attend, and The age range is wide: The younger ones are those who have a more professional approach to flamenco, because they develop it professionally or semi-professionally, sometimes teaching in their places of origin, or because they are dancers from other disciplines who want to get closer to flamenco. Older people want to know flamenco from the inside. but Interns They are the ones who guarantee the process Of the festival depends 60% of its income from the box office.

“It is a very fond audience,” explains the Director of the Festival and the Villamarta Theater, isamay benavente (The Line, 1965). He explained that booking the course includes a package of six tickets to watch performances during the week of the workshop. “People buy our courses without knowing what program they are going to watch, and they trust us a lot. It is a very well established festival“.

Trainees usually return the teacher. They follow them throughout the year and want to deepen their way of understanding flamenco, living with it, and learning the elements that relate to it. artistic philosophy. Others, more professional, seek to expand knowledge into hands Most relevant artists of the moment and great masters.

There is a thread Japanese amateur, a country associated with flamenco for decades due to its large audiences, but Benavente denies that it is the original venue for spectators in Jerez. in 2023, Germany is the first nationality And France Follow it closely, always on the same level as Japan. United Stateespecially California and New Mexico, are some of the countries that bring the largest number of fans to the festival.

also Brazil. The Brazilians are the four friends who take part in the course on technique, awareness of movement, and reed dancing Anna Morales (Barcelona, ​​1982), National Dance Award 2022 in Interpretation Method. Morales explains that he had been working on this for a long time and his apprentices were always asking him to increase the time he devotes to the technique, so he suggested it to Benavente. The goal is that Find out the cause of the movements, Which allows the body to express itself naturally. “They appreciate that you are generous in this regard and give them the tools to do so Connect with your own dance, Which, in the end, is the goal of flamenco.”

When leaving the workshop, the trainees ask for photos. On the streets of Jerez, Morales, like Beric, live with the rest of the audience It is possible to see them every night in the booths as spectators of the comrades or in the tabancos around Villamarta tasting the local wines. “For us it’s also a week of comprehensive learning,” explains Peric. “Last night we were in La Rega [uno de los locales de la zona] And one sings, you’re kicking your ass through buleria and the students will follow. A very pleasant symbiosis is created, which we all love and makes flamenco enchanting, Alive, something that happens less and less at festivals,” Morales adds. And then, in the theatre, The public receives everything with great greed And a lot of respect.”

Maria Jose Franco (Cádiz, 1977) Local artist. This year, in addition to its formative facet, it is presented in Villamarta dance to bethe premiere performance of the traditional flamenco dance without controversy other than that. In the morning, he introduces the Basic Level Course – Shawl Technique with the Shawl, and explains that in addition to the technique he explains in the course, he also gives readings to the trainees so that they can continue to go deeper. she what For the first time in the festival in its first edition as a lead dancer Andalusian Flamenco Ballet (Then called The Andalusian Dance Company, directed by Maria Pages), keeps the Dance Academy open all year, and explains that in the three weeks that the Jerez Festival lasts, he receives many requests for courses and private classes. As president of the Flamenco Schools Association of Jerez, she advocates for a closer approach to the festival with the children she works with throughout the year. “We must devise a formula that will allow children who are beginning to approach flamenco to go to the theatre, it is the only way to understand the magic it has and to be fans of the future.”

flamingo cradle

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The festival was able to consolidate thanks to the foreign audience. In 1999, when she was organizing her second edition, an 18-year-old French girl came to the festival for the first time. Celine Dalonis signed up for the classes of Alpillar Javier Latorre, who learned alegrías from New York dawn from Enrique Morente, and in the workshop he became friends with a boy from Arcos, a town 35 kilometers from Jerez. He was playing the guitar and started practicing dancing. This boy frame flowers (Arcos de la Frontera, 1981), in 2023 edition He gave his tenth show in Jerez, Knave, Horse and Queen, Current Jondism, Inspired by the 1922 Kante Gondo competition.” For him it was a little different, though I am sure it was the first time he had ever entered a master classCeline explains: “He danced very beautifully, and learned very quickly.”

Flores’ case is not unique. The festival saw the growth of the professional careers of many kafala workers, initially as apprentices: Leonor Leal or David Correa are other examples. Marco is an artist, the Villamarta stalls were once full of other fellows We come to see him dance with great respect“Flores is in Jerez,” Beric explains. At this festival I always have the memory that after a great show that makes you shake, like the day before with Marco, we had a good party. We were all in La Reja, it was a party to learn and see how they dance and sing in Jerez, everyone was welcome. The trainees as well as the artists.”

“I always say I am a crisis manager”

isamay benavente He reached the Festival de Jerez headline shortly before he exploded Great recessionwho would leave Jerez as the second most indebted municipality in Spain (which is still in the year 2023). However, she explains that the festival did not suffer much, despite the fact that the city hall was sunk, but that she had to put aside the thoughts she had in her mind of extending the date. Now, he explains, he works to grow national audience. “I would like this to become a festival like That Almagro, or Avignon, that it will also be a mandatory event at the national level.” In addition, in future editions he says he wants to associate the festival with activities about flamenco making, And join the trends of co-production and Technical support through residencies. “Here there are spaces to do so, it is only necessary for the city council to lift them up and allow them to be enabled.”



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