Little by little, San Antonio flamenco continues its sincere, unpretentious race to earn credibility through the efforts of different schools and independently organized—and not-so-organized—practitioners. While some remain skeptical, our flamenco scene is strong enough to put on shows on a regular basis. Every year, especially through the Guadalupe Dance Company, SA greets well-recognized flamenco personalities who share their knowledge with local dancers of all levels.
The guest of honor at this weekend’s annual GDC show at the Guadalupe Theater is Lidón Patiño, the 24-year-old Castellón-born winner of the prestigious Joven Promesa del Flamenco (Young Flamenco Promise) at the 20th Annual Spanish and Flamenco Dance Competition in Madrid, where she resides. She will choreograph two dances for the local company but will also dance as a soloist, accompanied by fellow Spaniard—now San Antonio resident—Luisma Ramos on guitar and local flamenco symbol Chayito Champion on vocals. Here’s a quick description of the show and what it means for our local flamenco crowd.
Seville’s Luisma Ramos, who has lived in San Antonio for three years, will return to the Guadalupe as the show’s guitarist (as he did last year) accompanied on percussion by cajón player Francisco “Yiyi” Orozco, a catalán (from Catalunya, Spain) who resides in SA.
“It will be a complete show with most of the most representative palos, not just bulerías and alegrías,” he told the Current, referring to the traditional musical forms of flamenco. He will play his originals throughout the show, adding intros, falsetas (the short melodies played in between sung verses) and solos during the baile (dance) and cante (singing), but he will also play an instrumental, dance-less bulería he wrote, and the classic “Recuerdos de la Alhambra” written by Francisco Tárrega (1852-1909).
Lidón Patiño started dancing at age 7 and is now one of the busiest young bailaoras in Spain. She won her 2011 Young Flamenco Promise award thanks to her choreography in “Remates en el Interior,” which earned her the right to perform at the 2012 Festival Suma Flamenca, Madrid’s top flamenco fest. In San Antonio, she choreographed the alegría that will be danced exclusively by the Guadalupe Dance Company, and she will return to close the show with them, in addition to performing a piece she will dance by herself. Patiño’s enthusiastic about the show, which she prepared in six full days in San Antonio before spending a week in L.A. and returning to SA on August 20 to put on the finishing touches.
“The one I dance by myself is a simple, story-less alegría charged with positive vibes,” she told the Current in Spanish from Los Angeles. “I call [the Guadalupe Dance Company dancers] my ‘accomplices.’ They’re so serious, it’s like we’re on a mission to put on something beautiful. At the end of the show everything will be more improvised, so that they can show-off their dance moves over Chayito’s beautiful voice. It will be a true juerga flamenca (flamenco party).”
“I’ll have none of that nonsense,” Patiño said when told about the hurdles a non-Andalusian must overcome in order to gain credibility in the highly competitive world of flamenco. “Look at me: I’m from Castellón, not a flamenco market, but I have it inside me and anyone can have it. I love going around the world and being surprised by what other dancers do. I love coming to San Antonio to contribute my knowledge, but it is as important for me as it is for [the local dancers].”
She’s thrilled and grateful to be in San Antonio and is confident that the local flamenco culture will continue to grow.
“What I’m most impressed with is that [the local dancers] are very concerned with putting on good shows and bringing quality to the city,” Patiño said. “They work very hard and that always gives good results. Not all [foreign] companies bring artists from Spain [to the U.S.] and I’m very grateful they contacted me. What they’re doing is very interesting and I think flamenco in SA is in good hands.”
Lidón Patiño and the Guadalupe Dance Company (feat. Chayito Champion and Luisma Ramos) present “Alma de Mujer”
$15-$30 ($50 includes priority seating, tapas and sangría)
8pm Fri-Sat, Aug 23-24
3pm Sun, Aug 25