Flamenco’s finest

The Flamenco Days Festival celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Desahogar bt Remangar (photo credit: GADI DAGON)
Desahogar bt Remangar
(photo credit: GADI DAGON)
Every year in the early spring, flamenco artists from Israel and abroad come together to celebrate the life of one young woman. Adi Agmon, who lost her battle to cancer at a young age, was an avid fan of the Spanish art form. When she passed away, her mother, Eva Agmon felt that the best way to commemorate Adi was to support and cultivate the love of flamenco in others. Twenty years ago, she established the Adi Foundation, which hosts the annual Flamenco Days Festival.
So much has changed since that first festival. Back then, flamenco had only just begun to reach Israel, brought back as a memento of trips to Spain. Although Agmon felt certain that the trend would catch on, it took time to gather audiences and awareness. Today, flamenco is taught in hundreds of studios around the country to thousands of passionate dancers.
Next weekend, Flamenco Days will celebrate its 20th anniversary with three days of music and movement. As always, the Adi Foundation will host its annual dance competition, the winner of which will receive a grant to pursue flamenco studies in Spain.
In previous years, Agmon invited an up-and-coming Spanish flamenco star to perform at the festival, such as Rocio Molino. This year, celebrated performer Concha Jareno will present El Baul de los Flamenco (Flamenco Toolbox). Jareno’s precision and energy have drawn a lot of attention in the international flamenco community. Her performances hark back to the purity of traditional flamenco with an updated twist.
Also in this year’s program is a premiere by Avner and Keren Pesach’s Remangar Flamenco Company. The new production entitled Desahogar (To Vent) strips away the grandiose props and costumes that flamenco is known for, focusing on pure movement and musicality. Four musicians will join the company on stage in a swell of emotional outpouring. Keren Pesach is a longtime friend of the Adi Foundation.
Twenty years ago, she won the annual dance competition hosted by the foundation. Her award was a grant to study for six months in Seville, Spain.
She was taken in by the renowned Gypsy flamenco family Los Farrucos and ended up spending eight years studying with them. It was there that she met another Israeli flamenco enthusiast, a young man named Avner.
Together, they returned to Israel and founded Remangar.
The Israeli Flamenco Morning will take place on Saturday. This event hosts performances by young dancers and choreographers from around the country. This section of the festival has been an integral part of the program for the past five years. Each year, new talents emerge from this forum, bringing forward the next generation of flamenco artists in Israel. The program includes troupes from Ra’anana, Ness Ziona, Sha’ar Hanegev, Herzliya and Ramat Hasharon.
On Saturday night, the Adi Foundation invites audiences and past grant recipients to a gala evening. For the event, the Adi Foundation has put together a smorgasbord of local flamenco talent. The program will close with a final performance of El Baul de los Flamencos.
The Flamenco Days Festival will take place at the Suzanne Dellal Center on March 19, 20 and 21. For more information, visit www.suzannedellal.org.il.