12th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival
The 12th annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival presents a thrilling lineup of performances by some of Spain’s top musicians and dancers, including José Maya and Juana la del Pipa.
The centerpiece of this year’s Bay Area Flamenco Festival is a performance by dancer José Maya presenting his newest work Latente: A Flamenco Journey in its West Coast debut at the Herbst Theater in San Francisco. Latente features special guest Juana la del Pipa and is supported by an ensemble comprising the exceptional Gypsy cantaores (singers) Enrique el Extremeño and Manuel Tañé, and the guitarist Pino Losada.
The piece offers a narrative that moves in 13 vignettes, from what critics have described as “tradition with a postmodern minimalist patina” to a fiery dialogue between dance and cante.
Other highlights of this year’s Festival include Cante Jondo: Cante Gitano at the Brava Theater, which features Gypsy singers Juana la del Pipa and Enrique el Extremeño in an evening of “flamenco puro” reminiscent of the traditional festivals in the small towns of Andalucia, Spain.
The Festival kicks off and closes at Berkeley’s La Peña Cultural Center featuring young Gypsy artists from Jerez de la Frontera with guest dancers El Choro Molina and Lakshmi “La Chimi”.
- On Sunday, February 12 at 6 pm: Andalucía with El Choro Molina. At La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley.
- On Sunday, February 19 at 7 pm: José Maya: Latente with special guest Juana la del Pipa. At Herbst Theater, San Francisco.
- On Thursday, February 23 at 8 pm: Cante Jondo: Cante Gitano with Juana la del Pipa and Enrique el Extremeño. At Brava Theater, San Francisco.
- On Saturday, February 25 at 8 pm: Gitanería de Jerez with Pepe del Morao & guest dancer Lakshmi “La Chimi.” At La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley.
Featured performance by José Maya
José Maya (José Rafael Maya Serrano) was born in Madrid in 1983 to a Gypsy family that includes writers, playwrights, and painters as well as flamenco artists, such as his uncle Rafael Romero El Gallina, who he calls “one of the great maestros of cante flamenco,” and an important dancer, Fernanda Romero, “the only bailaora among my elders […]” known as a groundbreaking innovator in flamenco who helped bring international attention to the art form. “From them I inherited my artistic discipline, my creative vision and a particular way of seeing and feeling, and above all a deep passion for the arts,” he said in a recent interview.
José began his dance career at age nine, sharing the stage of the fabled Teatro Albéniz in Madrid with flamenco legends such as Antonio Canales, Joaquín Grilo and Enrique Morente. He was educated not only in flamenco but ballet and modern dance, which he has since subtly incorporated into his own Gypsy-rooted style. One of flamenco’s rising stars, he has performed with other new-generation dancers such as Karime Amaya, Carmen Cortés and Farruquito, with singer Estrella Morente, top flamenco guitarists Tomatito and Gerardo Núñez and the fabled group Ketama. He has also opened for international pop artists such as Beyoncé, Marc Anthony and Björk. Maya has made his home in Paris since 2010 where he founded a flamenco dance academy. He premiered Latente in there in 2014 at the Théatre Le Palace.
About the Bay Area Flamenco
Founded in 2005, Bay Area Flamenco presents events and workshops year-round, including the Bay Area Flamenco Festival, now in its 12th year. Recognized as one of the most vibrant flamenco festivals in the United States, featuring authentic, world-renowned flamenco talent from Spain, the Festival has grown into a popular and vital annual Bay Area cultural event and a favorite among the region’s numerous world music and dance enthusiasts. Artistic Director Nina Menéndez’s unique curatorial vision distinguishes the Festival and its particular focus on grassroots flamenco from the Gypsy communities of Spain.
The UNESCO has recognized flamenco as a World Heritage Treasure, acknowledging the Spanish Gypsies’ essential role in flamenco’s evolution. Celebrating Spanish Gypsy music and dance as a living culture and a legacy of world stature, the Festival, also known as Festival Flamenco Gitano, received a Special Honor from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards in 2012 and has presented some of the most important figures in the history of flamenco as well as prodigies from today’s generation of artists including Farruquito, Agujetas, Diego el Cigala, Son de la Frontera, Angelita Vargas, the Farruco Family, Manuela Carrasco, Miguel Funi, Juana la del Pipa, Pepe Torres, Diego del Morao, Jose Maya and more. Funding from the San Francisco Foundation has allowed an increase in Bay Area Flamenco’s grassroots cultural exchange initiatives with underserved youth and families throughout the region.
Visiting artists from Spain will also teach workshops and master classes during their stay in the Bay Area.