Flamenco is alive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2012
The Institute for Spanish Arts
Tucked away in a school on Aqua Fria street in Santa Fe, New Mexico is the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts. From the name you can surmise that its focus is artistic endeavor related to the country of Spain and it’s influence on Hispanic culture. What you can’t know unless you have seen the product of their efforts is the powerful emotional and visceral impact one of their performances can have on an audience. It’s a fitting organization for the oldest city that is a capital in the U.S. and founded by the Spanish. Maria Benitez, its founder may be known to many of you. She is an internationally recognized choreographer, dancer, and director of Spanish dance. She is also one of the most well known Flamenco dancers in the world.
We have been doing photography and volunteer work with the Institute for many months and have enjoyed the opportunity to broaden our cultural knowledge and experience.
The Institute for Spanish Arts is a not-for-profit, educational and cultural organization, established by Founders/ Directors Cecilio and Maria Benitez, to present programs of the highest quality of the rich artistic Hispanic heritage as expressed through music, dance, visual arts and other art forms.
Before working with the Institute we never really had an awareness of or had seen much Flamenco dancing other than a glimpse on TV. After watching many live performances we can justly say it’s the most emotional and dynamic dancing we have experienced and it awakened an ever deeper appreciation in us of this dynamic, further spreading, cultural phenomenon called Flamenco and Spanish Dance. It grew from Andalusian and Romani music and dance styles.The cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps) are the principal elements of flamenco. Its overt sensuality is obvious and adds a great deal to the experience for the viewers. Both female and male dancers perform Flamenco. In recent years flamenco has become popular all over the world and is taught in many countries; in Japan flamenco is so popular that there are more academies than in Spain.
Images from Flamenco’s Next Generation of the Institute Performance
photos by Mari Angulo – Artotems Co.
More on Flamenco
“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.” Martha Graham
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