Flamenco, with its mixed roots in Spanish, Jewish and Moorish culture, may be the perfect art form to express ideas of migration and multiculturalism.
With their latest production Desplazados, part of this year's sixth annual Flamenco Fest at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, the Austin-based dance company A'lante Flamenco draws from recent events (such as the influx of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. from countries in the Northern Triangle) but also from the experiences of its own members, several of whom are also immigrants living in the United States.
"They all have fascinating histories," A'lante Flamenco artistic director Olivia Chacón told the San Antonio Current about the five dancers and five musicians which make up the company. "Many of them are either immigrants or people whose lives have been informed by moving from place to place," she said.
In an era when immigration reform fuels impassioned debates across party lines, Desplazados aims to put a human face on the complex issue of migration and displacement.
"I feel this is a topic that is very tied to flamenco, because of course flamenco talks about this history of migration, and movement, and socio-economic issues." Chacon said. "Even now, flamenco may talk about more modern things, but it's still similar to what not only immigrants, but poor people in all sorts of countries talk about. How do you retain your roots? How do you stay in touch with your roots? How do you form a community? These are all topics that flamenco still addresses as well as the universal ones; things like love and death, and things that everyone can relate to."
Desplazados will mark A'lante Flamenco's second appearance at Flamenco Fest. Their first was in 2012 with their production of The Red Shoes: A Flamenco Fairytale.
"We are very happy and fortunate to have them produce their show in conjunction with the festival," said Joel Settles, one of the co-founders of Flamenco Fest.
Now in its sixth year, Flamenco Fest has, for the most part, continued to expand each year since moving from the Cameo Theatre to the Guadalupe Theater in 2013. Settles attributes that growth largely to "word of mouth" and hopes to increase funding of the festival in the years to come.
The Guadalupe Dance Company presents an encore performance of Pisando Fuerte: A Flamenco Journey, staged by guest choreographer Miguel Vargas of Seville and featuring San Antonio vocalist Chayito Champion. $15-$35, 8pm Fri, Oct. 9, 1301 Guadalupe St.
The San Antonio Parks and Recreation Flamenco Dance Program presents Flor Flamenco with performances by Sonya Jimenez, guitarists Steve Arispe and Luis "El Tiburon" Linares, and guest artist Vicente Griego from New Mexico. $15-$35, 8pm Sat, Oct. 10, 1301 Guadalupe St.
A'lante Flamenco presents Desplazados. The company is the recipient of the Austin Critic's Table Award for Best Ensemble 2013/2014 for their production of Prophecies. $23, 3pm Sun, Oct. 11, 1301 Guadalupe St.
Carmens de la Calle hosts a pre-show "Dueling Guitars and Paella Brunch" with a performance by guitarists Steve Arispe, Luis "El Tiburon" Linares and Randy Cordero. $45, noon & 2pm Sun, Oct. 11, 320 N. Flores St.
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