Dispatch from the MetroSTEP Pasion y Arte Video Shoot

The all-female flamenco troupe Pasion y Arte in performance.
The all-female flamenco troupe Pasion y Arte in performance.

Last week Pentacle embarked on its new MetroSTEP project— an initiative in collaboration with presenters to more fully engage and expand their audiences during our Metropolitan Intersections artists’ performances and residencies, made possible through a generous grant from DanceUSA’s Engaging Dance Audiences (EDA) program. We are beginning by shooting video interviews with each company on the Metro Intersections roster in an attempt to investigate the creative drive behind their work. We started with Pasion y Arte, an all-female flamenco company based in Philadelphia.

Because this company is based outside of New York, we were on a tight schedule in order to film both a rehearsal as well as an interview before the artistic director, Elba Hevia y Vaca, needed to board her bus back to Philadelphia. We began at the rehearsal space where Elba and her dancers were in the midst of perfecting their current work, Complices, a dance full of angst as well as humor, choreographed by the great contemporary Spanish choreographer Rosario Toledo. Despite cramped quarters, a temperature that was slightly too high to be altogether comfortable, and smudged mirrors, the videographer, Victoria Sendra managed to shoot some powerful film. The women work together beautifully, offering advice and corrections to each other in order to create a seamless and emotional work of art.

Pasion y Arte performing "Complices."
Pasion y Arte performing “Complices.”

From the studio we took a cab through ridiculous New York City traffic to another space to set up for the interview portion of the video. Luckily, the light in the studio illuminated Elba beautifully and we were able to capture her love and passion for Flamenco. She sees Flamenco as primarily an art form of emotion; despite its reputation for darkness and melancholy, Flamenco addresses not only sadness but also comedy and happiness. The Flamenco of Pasion y Arte, apart from its obvious artistic merits, also seeks to empower women—the company’s main mission has always been dedicated to emphasizing female power and resilience. Throughout Elba’s interview, it was plain that Flamenco affects its viewers in a deep and intense manner, encouraging the audience to explore their own emotions and thoughts in a new, creative way. Elba’s enthusiasm and love for her art is contagious and will no doubt be obvious to all who watch her dance as well as her film.

Stay tuned for more dispatches from MetroSTEP’s video shoots and make sure to catch Pasion y Arte’s video when it becomes available!