(photo credit: Courtesy, Remangar)
Flamenco dancer Keren Pesach and her guitarist husband Avner will be appearing
tonight at the Ashdod Mediterranean Festival. The name of their dance troupe is
Remangar, the Spanish word for “pushing up your sleeves,” meaning “getting down
to it,” a reflection of what real flamenco is all about.
Both husband and
wife are dedicated heart and soul to the art of flamenco, having studied it at
the source, in Seville, Spain, at the heart of a gypsy family of renowned
dancers, the Farrucos.
Keren began dancing jazz at age 10, and by the
time she was 20 found herself attending the Amor De Dios flamenco academy in
Madrid, where she met Avner.
At the time, Keren cleaned the homes of
Madrid’s Israeli embassy employees to be able to stay in Spain and continue
Avner supported himself by selling imported paintings
at market stalls. Eventually, Keren’s money ran out and she had to move back to
Israel. She and Avner had been “just friends” for six years. One year later,
Avner appeared at her door and they returned to Spain together.
Madrid they worked at the Paco Mora company which performed internationally,
even spending a year in South and Central America. In Spain they also worked in
Malaga and were eventually offered the opportunity to do a show in Israel with
The Pesachs still felt that they had not gotten to the
heart of the matter and decided to move to Seville, where they would be able to
deepen their understanding of flamenco. They were determined to learn from the
true greats and approached the Farruco family. It wasn’t easy to convince them,
La Farruca, the matriarch, finally agreed to see them and asked
Keren to dance something for her. Keren danced and Farruca told her: “One day
you will dance with me.”
“There was a connection there from the
beginning. It was something inexplicable,” says Avner.
“We got close to
them” interjects Keren. “We lived there for seven years. We lived through the
death of ‘El Moreno,’ [the patriarch] and the long mourning period. Many hard
For a while we did not even dance, just helped the family [with
In 2003, one of the sons, Farruquito, returned to the
stage after the mourning period, and decided to have “La Keren” dance with
“They knew that we understood their dance; their dance is deep, it
has philosophy and has many details. It is like a religion,” says Avner. “‘La
Keren’ and I, until today, we are dedicated to the philosophy of the dance to
give respect to the abuela (“the grandmother”) [the older generation]. You don’t
only dance for your feeling, also for culture, respect, style. Flamenco is not
just dance, it is also a way of communicating. We tell our students [at the
Remangar flamenco school in Tel Aviv and at Kibbutz Ramat Rahel] that it is not
only important to learn how to dance, but also to be sensitive to
“Farrucco understood that as Israelites we can respect and
understand and keep learning,” says Avner.
Spanish flamenco star couple,
Grammy-award-winning Paco Heredia and his cantaora (“singer”) wife Montse Cortes
will be appearing alongside Remangar at the Ashdod Mediterranean Festival
tonight at 8 p.m. Remangar is also appearing on June 22 at the Jerusalem Theater
and on June 29 at Hamerkaz Le’omanuyot Habama in Jerusalem.