Flamenco Days are here again

This year’s festival focuses on the popularity of the Spanish dance form in modern society. Arriba!

Dancer 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Dancer 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Every year, a very special event takes place in southern Tel Aviv. For three days, the sound of castanets can be heard throughout the streets of Neveh Tzedek. Spanish words ring through the air, and glimpses of glorious costumes can be caught in the openings of garment bags being swept backstage. This happening, whose success has grown with each year, is the Flamenco Days Festival. After a long 12 months, the excitement of Andalusian performance will come back to Israel this coming week.
For the past three years, since its inception, Flamenco Days has focused on pure flamenco performance. Now that the local audience has gotten a good taste of the traditions, the directors of the festival decided to shake things up.
This year’s program is focused on the development of the flamenco language in modern society. For centuries, the traditional Spanish art form has been performed throughout the world, leaving audiences flushed and wanting more. And though the classics never grow old, the flamenco community remains in constant motion, expanding upon a long history of breathtaking performances. Schools have blossomed like wildflowers, teaching young and old dancers the intricate technique of flamenco. In Israel, flamenco has become one of the most popular dance forms both on stage and in the studio. Several gifted choreographers have brought the newest and most innovative interpretations of the art form to our side of the Mediterranean.
Twenty-six year-old dancer and choreographer Rocio Molino (pictured), will kick off the festival with an evening-length production. Molino has been a member of the flamenco community since she began to walk. Over the past several years, she has become known as the queen of flamenco dance. The 1962 film Days of Wine and Roses inspired her show, entitled Vinatica. The motto of the show, as Molino explains, is “Do we drink to remember or to forget?”
For this process, Molino called upon several of her peers to collaborate on dramaturgy and an original score. The result is moving, edgy and precise. Molino will teach a master class at Suzanne Dellal for advanced dancers during her stay here.
Another featured event in this year’s program is Nino de Dios by choreographer Yigali Yehuda. The performance will feature dancer Silvia Doran’s and the singer Dikla. Doran has been a pioneer of flamenco in Israel, both in her performances and at her school. Her presence on stage is unforgettable. In this show, Yehuda will present his take on modern flamenco.
For young flamenco fans, there is the children’s version of Carmen as performed by the Compas Israeli Flamenco Dance Company. Compas was founded in 1995 as a flamenco troupe that engages all kinds of artists. Their collaborations have brought in theater directors, actors, musicians and visual artists. Director Michal Natan pushes the envelope with each production, expanding the reaches of her art form. Natan’s interpretation of Carmen is a call to audiences to abstain from violence. The show is recommended for ages six and up.
Finally, the Israeli Flamenco Morning performances present a platform for young dancers and choreographers to showcase their work. This section of the festival has been an integral part of the program for the past three years. Each year, new talents emerge from this forum, bringing forward the next generation of flamenco artists in Israel.
Flamenco Days is a production of the Adi Foundation. Established 18 years ago to honor the memory of young dancer Adi Agmon, the foundation promotes flamenco performances, classes and competitions in Israel.
The Flamenco Days festival was initiated to provide local flamenco lovers an opportunity to view international artists from the field.
The Flamenco Days festival opens on March 18 at the Suzanne Dellal Center. For more information and tickets, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.