The Source for Media Coverage of The Arts in Miami.
Articles, reviews, previews and features on dance and music performances and events.
Sign Up
No one logged in. Log in

Getting into a true holiday spirit can be tough in South Florida, where palm trees, expansive beaches and balmy skies signal perpetual summer. Ever-earlier store décor and the incessant push to buy presents – more about commercialism than celebration – can make many of us feel more anxious than festive. Not to worry. Just squeeze in a trip to Miami’s Arsht Center, where City Theatre h..

One of the centerpieces of this year’s Art Week is not a static art work, and it is also one of the most sensuous and disorienting. Lebanese performance artist Tania El Khoury is producing her “Gardens Speak” for the week, courtesy of MDC Live Arts, a piece that has been applauded in cultural capitals throughout Europe and the United States. “It is a work,” she says, “that can only co..

Since its founding in 1996, City Theatre has been an important part of South Florida’s theatrical landscape, though the company’s visibility has always been highest in the month of June. That’s when its popular Summer Shorts festival takes place; for more than a decade, its high-profile venue has been the Carnival Studio Theater at Miami’s Arsht Center. Though the company founded by S..

If you were to predict who might become a nationally famous – OK, world-famous – multiplatform sex therapist, Dr. Ruth Westheimer would probably not be your first choice. Born in Germany in 1928 as Karola Ruth Siegel, the 4’7” Dr. Ruth seems more like the doting Jewish grandmother she is than a woman who used her nationally syndicated radio show, TV shows and 40-some books to help hun..

Actors’ Playhouse has been a musical powerhouse for much of its history. Launching its 30th anniversary season at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, the company is revisiting some of that history with a new production of a made-for-South Florida favorite: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s “Evita.” As it did in 2000 when recent Tony Award winner Rachel Bay Jones starred as Eva Duart..

Playwright Suzan-Lori Parks won the Pulitzer Prize for “Topdog/Underdog” in 2002. But as Zoetic Stage’s superb new production of the play at Miami’s Arsht Center demonstrates, her funny, shocking tale of two brothers struggling to survive is as potent today as it was 15 years ago. Maybe more so, given the country’s deepening divide. Parks’ harrowing drama examines the complex relation..

We are born. We live, have families, grow old. We die, leaving those who loved us to mourn. Playwright Thornton Wilder brilliantly captured the eternal verities of our journey through life in “Our Town,” his 1938 Pulitzer Prize-winning play about life, love and death in a small New Hampshire town at the turn of the 20th century. If you’re at all drawn to theater, you’ve probably ..

“Miami Motel Stories: Little Havana” written by Juan C. Sanchez, directed by Tamilla Woodard, and produced by Juggerknot Theatre Company, is a site-specific, immersive theater experience that interweaves narrative, performance, history and architecture. Nine short plays take place in nine hotel rooms on the second floor of the Tower Hotel, right off Calle Ocho on Seventh Street. Sanchez, ..

Artistic director and founder of Juggerknot Theatre Company, Tanya Bravo, had her first brush with immersive theater in New York City when she met director Tamilla Woodard. Working on the play “Broken City,” Bravo and other actors led audience members on a theatrical journey through the streets of the Lower East Side. “I was so blown away by the concept and the lines that were crossed between ..

We humans do love our rituals. When an extended family gathers for the holidays, familiar traditions promise a comforting respite from an increasingly complex, chaotic world. Still, realistically, troubles and fears refuse to be left behind. They surface like unwelcome guests. So do resentments and stinging remarks born of deep knowledge. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, you wonder: ..

A Way of Life – Siempre Flamenco’s Festival de Cante Flamenco


Photo: Rocio Bazan; photo credit: Remedios Malvarez
Written by: Sean Erwin
Article Rating

The name Flamenco conjures the machine-gun snap of heels, arms arched overhead, the flick of red fabric and laser-like glares from beneath the starched black brim of a Cordobes hat. At the edges of a bright spotlight sit a semi-anonymous guitarist and singer providing musical backdrop for all the dancer’s sinewy goodness.

Husband and wife team Celia and Paco Fonta would like to change that. For the Fontas the power of flamenco stems principally from the singer, not the dancer, and the couple have programmed their 12th annual Festival de Cante Flamenco (Friday through Sunday at the Arsht Center) to emphasize flamenco as principally a sung art form.
 
Flamenco appeared in the South of Spain as a music of exile. The roots of the music stem from the cries of suffering experienced by certain communities at the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Telling the story by telephone, Celia Fonta explained, “Flamenco was born out of the suffering caused by the expulsion from Spain of the Jews, Gypsies and Moors, and the music owes its character to the experience of each of these communities.”
 
For the Fontas, the legend of flamenco’s emergence captures a basic truth -- flamenco is principally a vocal art. As she added: “Globalization has caused flamenco to take on many forms as it fused with other art forms. We find this interesting but we don’t lose sight of the fact that flamenco is first and foremost a conversation that occurs between singer and guitarist. The dancer accompanies and follows those two.”
 
The performance of flamenco has a lot in common with jazz, where informal rules guide the musicians. Because the rules are open-ended the same songs sound very different from one night to the next.
As Paco Fonta explains, both guitarists and singers value spontaneity. For Fonta, an accomplished flamenco guitarist, “we follow some rules and we know how it goes. Every night might be very different because from night to night someone may decide to do something entirely different. We may decide to give more room to the singer, and in the authentic flamenco performance the real bosses are the singers.”
 
At this year’s festival the “bosses” include vocalists Morenito de Illora, Joselito Montoya and Rocio Bazan. “One of the great values of this festival is that we can introduce Miami audiences to great flamenco singers who are well-known in Spain but not so well known here in Miami,” adds Paco.
The up-close experience of the 200-seat Carnival Center provides a great venue for experiencing flamenco short of a seat at an authentic Spanish tablao (singing club). Though the Pacos find the focus of flamenco in the vocalist, lovers of the dance form need not worry.
 
“We have invited world renowned dancer Angel Rojas,” continued Celia. “Yes, the dance came later, but of course we bring in the dance for the sake of the audiences. The legend of flamenco tells us how the dance began. First, we had people singing as they worked the anvil, and then they began to tap their feet to the songs, and from the foot tapping the dance developed. This all makes sense so long as we remember that the flamenco music came first.”
 
In 2016 the Fontas were the recipients of the 2016 Florida Folk Heritage Award -- the state’s highest honor for folk and traditional arts. They received the award as recognition that the aim of Siempre Flamenco is not only to entertain but also to educate. For the couple this is critical because flamenco for them is more than just a musical form. As Celia explains:
“Duende (soul) names the moment when flamenco becomes a way of life. It describes a transcendental moment but not a religious experience per se. The singer and the dancer go through a catharsis to get out of the sadness, the melancholy and the drama of life –– and in the experience of flamenco music we come out of it renewed. Duende doesn’t happen all the time, but you can say the lover of flamenco is someone engaged in la busqueda del duende (the search for soul).”

The 12th Festival de Cante Flamenco, Friday through Sunday, September 1 to 3 Arsht Center’s Carnival Studio Theater (1300 Biscayne Bay Boulevard, Miami); tickets cost $48;
http://www.arshtcenter.org/Tickets/Calendar/2017-2018-Season/Siempre-Flamenco/Siempre-Flamenco/?performanceNumber=24353

Leave a comment...
Must be Logged in
No one logged in. Log in
Leave a comment...
Was this helpful?
No Very

Captcha Image

About The writer

Sean Erwin is a writer and assistant professor of Philosophy at Barry University, with a focus on aesthetics and contemporary french philosophy.
Sean Erwin is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Barry University and received his Masters and Doctorate in Philosophy from Vanderbilt. He has presented and published on topics in political philosophy, Italian and French philosophy, and technology and performance studies. He currently serves as the senior editor of the Humanities and Technology Review.

Erwin is also a performance critic for Artburst, with performance previews and reviews appearing regularly there and in other South Florida publications. Artburst gives him the platform to critique the aesthetic principles he writes on as a professional philosopher through analysis of the concrete movements embodied by performers.

He is also an accomplished dancer and teacher in the Argentine Tango community. In 2000 he founded and served as editor of the Chicago webzine, Tango Noticias, a specialty dance periodical dedicated to examining Argentine Tango as a set of social practices rooted to the Southern cone’s history, politics, and culture.

Since his move to South Florida, he has both taught philosophy and served as a principal tango instructor for the Miami-based, Shimmy Club, a non-profit program that teaches Argentine Tango to vision-impaired teens. Through his involvement with the program, Erwin has been featured in articles and several news outlets including Univision, Telemundo, NBC News, KPFK Los Angeles, and the Miami Herald. For more information, see erwinsean.com.

..

About the Writer

We know it’s the holiday season when trees light up, menorah candles start to burn, ubiquitous Christmas carols pipe through drugstores, “The Nutcracker” plays on every stage – and in recent ..

Late last year, on Dec. 20, 2016, Romero Britto and Mark Bryn hosted the Great Artists Series Cocktail Reception at the Britto Fine Art Gallery to celebrate the legendary impresaria, Judy Dru..

Everyone remembers a lost weekend, binge reading a novel whose ending had to wait because the body just gave out. No matter how compelling the story somewhere around the 30th hour the brain s..

Globalization has produced many stories —not all inspiring. But having a Pakistani ensemble become a worldwide sensation by playing Paul Desmond’s immortal “Take Five,” which pianist Da..

When the management of New York’s iconic Apollo Theater approached drummer Gregg Field last year about organizing a concert there in honor of the 100th anniversary of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth..

They’ve opened a Chanel fashion show in Havana and been featured in Beyoncé’s visual album for “Lemonade.” The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater has danced to their music. Their Florida debu..

There are few artists who have had the impact in their disciplines that guitarist Paco De Lucía had in flamenco. There is a before-and-after De Lucía in flamenco. He expanded the harmonic voc..

Yoli Mayor is a 22-year old Miami native who won over the judges of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” with her power voice (think Adele mixed with Etta James). This weekend, Miami audiences will h..

You might expect something a tad unusual from a jazz band comprised of Bulgarians and Cubans that’s led by the principal percussionist of the Miami Symphony Orchestra. And that’s what you’ll ..

La tradicional temporada de Cascanueces del Miami City Ballet (MCB) tendrá algo nuevo este año. La compañía que dirige Lourdes López ha decidido renovar los diseños de la superproducción que..

El programa que Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) presentó el sábado pasado en su exitoso debut como compañía en residencia del South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center (SMDCAC) y a solo ..

Hay pocos artistas que han tenido el impacto en sus disciplinas como el guitarrista Paco De Lucía tuvo en flamenco. En este género, hay un antes y después de De Lucía. Expandió el vocabul..

Dance NOW! Miami, la Florida Dance Education Organization (FDEO), Miami Dance Futures y la New World School of the Arts (NWSA) colaboraron el fin de semana pasado para presentar la Daniel Lew..

Esta es una gran noticia para el público amante del ballet en Miami. Tras un paréntesis de diez años en los que solo nos visitó de manera esporádica, la Primera Bailarina mexicana Katia Carra..

Solo hay que aplicar el concepto “seis grados de separación” a uno de los artistas que se han presentado en las Galas de Estrellas del Festival Internacional de Ballet de Miami (IBFM por sus ..

El debut de Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami (DDTM) en noviembre del año pasado fué un acontecimiento artístico y un descubrimiento sumamente agradable. Una sola función en el Miami-Dade Cou..

El festival “Out in the Tropics”, patrocinado por Fundarte en conjunto con el Centro Cultural Español y el Miami Book Fair International, normalmente trae artistas del mundo LGBTQ e hispanoha..

La Gala anual de Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami (CCBM) es un evento que esperan con ansiedad los aficionados al ballet en Miami y, sobre todo, los admiradores del estilo cubano. Desde su deb..