Keeping it in the family

This week, Israel's preeminent flamenco couple is debuting its latest work, ‘Mi Alborado,’ which combines traditional Spanish dance and music with contemporary emotions.

Dancer Avner Pesach (photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
Dancer Avner Pesach
(photo credit: Gadi Dagon)
If you have ever been to a flamenco performance, you will most likely remember the sense of tension conveyed by the artists. Energy and anticipation are two essential elements of any good flamenco show. This tension is not happenstance but a sought-after and deeply cherished quality studied and perfected by leading Spanish dancers. The ability of a performer to hold the audience spellbound before bursting into action is called “remangar” and is one of the most difficult nuances of the traditional art form.
This week, the Remangar Flamenco Dance Company will premiere its newest work, Mi Alborado, in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Founded and run by Keren and Avner Pesach, Remangar is a purist flamenco troupe, dedicated to upholding, preserving and expanding upon traditional Spanish dance. In the eyes of the couple, flamenco’s appeal extends far beyond the world of folklore and is a viable and relevant, expressive art.
Avner Pesach will dance the lead role in Mi Alborado, accompanied by the dancers and musicians of the company and Turkish-born woodwind artist Amir Shasaar. Mi Alborado, which means “my dawn,” is the tale of man searching for a way to connect to the people around him while maintaining his own sense of self. Composed of eight sections, it portrays a journey through time and space during which Pesach encounters an array of memories and individuals.
The pair’s inspiration for this piece was drawn largely from writings by Spanish writer Frederico Garcia Lorca.
Woodwind musician Shasaar arrived in Israel 17 years ago to perform with a Persian troupe. He fell in love with the country immediately and decided to forgo his return flight. Since then, he has performed with Yossi Banai, Riki Gal, Ahinoam Nini and many others. In Mi Alborado, Shasaar will perform original pieces written for the show, which combine the flamenco feel with a Moroccan sound.
AVNER AND Keren Pesach have been an item for the past 15 years. Both Israeli born, the two met in Madrid where they were studying dance and music. From there, the couple traveled south to Jerez de la Frontera, where they explored the connection between song and dance, learning the art of flamenco vocals. After one year under the tutelage of Maria Bermudes and Ana Maria Lopez, they packed their bags and continued farther south, to Seville, where they would stay for the better part of a decade. In Seville, Keren and Avner quickly immersed themselves in the extended clan of the legendary Gypsy family, Los Faruccos. During their time in Seville, Keren and Avner were invited to Israel several times to stage performances with their Spanish counterparts. They performed extensively throughout Europe and were invited to embody vital roles in the Faruccos’ performance troupe. Then, in 2005, after the birth of their first child, they decided to return to Israel permanently.
Six years ago, the Pesachs founded the Remangar Professional School of Flamenco. Their academy has two locations, one in Tel Aviv and one in Jerusalem, and teaches all forms of flamenco performance: dance, song, guitar, drumming and compas. Continuing the legacy of Los Faruccos, the Pesachs teach the style of flamenco puro (pure flamenco) to their wide range of students.
The Pesachs are part of a growing generation of Israeli flamenco teachers and performers, which includes Sylvia Duran and Michal Natan. Ten years ago, flamenco was rarely seen in Israel. Thanks to these artists, flamenco performances and classes have become a regular part of Israeli culture. Israel is a frequent host of Spain’s top performers, and Israeli flamenco troupes are regularly invited to perform abroad.
Mi Alborado will premiere at the Suzanne Dellal Center ( on April 12 at 9 p.m. and at the Jerusalem Center for the Performing Arts ( on April 16 at 9:15 p.m.