Not the Same Ol' Song and Dance
By Valerie Gladstone for The Washington Post
Flamenco is booming. Once generally regarded as corny and arcane, it is now performed in opera houses and theaters all over the world. Children -- and their mothers -- take classes, and pop musicians sample its plaintive chords. Go clubbing and watch the patrons try their hand at it. Increased exposure and a higher level of performance have given the art this boost.
Still, for all its popularity, until the Spanish impresario Miguel Marin established Flamenco Festival USA in 2000, few American venues consistently offered high-quality performances. A flamenco lover who grew up in Andalusia, Marin set out to fill the void. "I want people to know just how good it can be," he said.
Marin took the Seville Bienal as the model for his festival. A rousing success since its founding in 1980, the Bienal offers a month of top-flight flamenco every other September. Audiences who pack the city's elegant old concert halls are treated to a premiere every day. In 2001, 63,000 people attended the festival from as many as 15 countries. click for more
*************************************** Flamenco Evolves, With an Eye to the Past
By Lisa Traiger for The Washington Post
"ALMOST EVERY flamenco artist sooner or later wants to play Lorca," declares Sara Baras, Spain's most acclaimed flamenco dancer of the moment. Federico Garcia Lorca, along with Cervantes, remains Spain's best-known literary figure. Closely connected with flamenco culture, his poetry and plays have been acclaimed for their deft blend of passion, drama and lyricism. So when Baras approached Lorca, she selected his rendition of "Mariana Pineda," his first success in the theater. On Tuesday, Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras opens the third annual Flamenco Festival D.C. at Lisner Auditorium with Baras's evening-length flamenco ballet inspired by the popular Andalusian ballad of Mariana Pineda, which sings of a revolutionary woman who fought against a ruthless Spanish monarchy in the 1830s. click for more