Pasión y Arte and its Artistic Director Elba Hevia y Vaca present new and commissioned works that draw upon mastery and respect for flamenco dance, cante and palos while experimentally incorporating elements of other dance forms, music genres, multimedia and narrative storytelling. In this manner, Pasión y Arte investigates the trajectory of modernization and change in 21st century flamenco, with a special emphasis on the empowerment of women.
“…strength and vulnerability, ferocity and femininity exist in accord… [in] this stunning ensemble…” -Thinking Dance
Cómplices/Allies (World Premiere, 2012)
“Cómplices” was commissioned by Pasión y Arte from the world renowned Flamenco artist from Spain, Rosario Toledo, as part of their 2012 First Philadelphia Flamenco Festival.* “Cómplices” invites you to the images,sounds and feelings of the world of the feminine, the masculine, the collaborator and the co-conspirator while exploring the many conflicting definitions of the 21st century woman. How do we support one another and remain authentic, how do we access our male side and stay true to our femininity? How do we celebrate being woman and be joyous rather than shameful? Using complex, layered neo-flamenco choreography and traditional elements of live guitar, song, piano and other instruments outside of the flamenco tradition, Pasión y Arte probe into this highly complex feminized world. “Cómplices” was made possible by the generous support of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through Dance Advance.
“The result, which I saw on Friday night at the Christ Church Neighborhood House, is marvelous.” -Nancy Heller, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Tablao (A traditional performance that is easily adaptable to space and length.)
Refers to the milieu in which flamencos showcased their dancing until the art was institutionalized in theatrical performances, similar to the atmosphere once created when beat poets gathered to recite verses.
Flamenco emerged as a unique art form in the 15th century. Spanish Gypsies (or Roma) danced flamenco privately in their rural homes. The dance gradually migrated from the countryside to south Spain’s cities, where Gypsy artists performed on the streets in the plazas. By the 1840s, nightclubs called “cafes del cante” began to host flamenco tablao, giving flamencos the opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary skills at improvising movement within the confines of rigid rhythmic structures. The cafes were the first enterprises to pay flamenco dancers, singers, and musicians. Commercial flamenco was born.
From the mid 1800s-early 1900s, highly acclaimed flamenco artists danced in cafes del cante. Tablao performances helped flamenco to grow in expressive range and aesthetic precision, exposing non-Gypsy audiences to the art. See more here.
1096AD: Bionic Woman (Work-in-Progress)
A collaboration between Pasión y Arte and Freshblood, a postmodern dance company, “1096″ explores the diversity of women’s voices representing different historical epochs and cultures. The narrative of the work is told through the multimedia layering of video, text, song and the distinct languages of its two artistic collaborators, Elba Hevia y Vaca and KC Chun-Manning. The six-membered female ensemble, split equally between Flamenco and postmodern dance professionals, uses vocabulary based in the language of these two distinct dance forms, while showcasing each dancer’s distinctive talents and traditions.
The piece is an exploratory and feminist conversation that delves into historical and contemporary questions of women’s self-knowledge and ultimately explores how women reclaim their bodies and themselves despite cultural and historical forces. This collaborative excavation will flesh out a cross-cultural, cross-genre inquiry into the complex history that women share universally, highlighting both female connectivity and the gaps forged by their varying cultural roots.
In 2000 Artistic Director, Elba Hevia y Vaca founded Pasión y Arte out of a strong and intensely personal conviction that flamenco dance is a perfect vessel to empower women. Through the art of flamenco – music, dance, song, as well as the visual arts and other related art forms – Pasión y Arte’s programs reflect the rich artistic heritage of the South of Spain and explore themes that extend beyond flamenco’s traditional repertoire. As part of their educational and community-oriented mission, Pasión y Arte works in schools, universities, and community centers and produces The Philadelphia Flamenco Festival, drawing internationally renown flamenco artists. The Company has received two prestigious awards from The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage through Dance Advance, and has toured extensively throughout the Mid-Atlantic region.
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