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Belen Maya Company (c) Luis Castilla

Interview with Miguel Marin, Producer of Flamenco Festival

15 February 2014 Charlie Kenber

“not a single show will leave you untouched…come and experience it”

London Calling: How do you go about programming the Festival?

Miguel Marin: We want to show the wide variety of styles and ways in which artists are creating in Spain today. Every year Flamenco Festival presents the most outstanding artists and interesting productions, both the more traditional approach as well as new trends within the Flamenco world. 

LC: What can people look forward to from the Festival? 

MM: The audience will be able to see a wide range of acts, for example this year we will present La Pepa, the new show from Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras. Sara she is considered as one of Spain´s most popular Flamenco stars; Sara and her ensemble of nine dancers and seven musicians visit Sadler’s Wells for a week from Saturday 1 March – Saturday 8 March (except 4 March). Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras represents bigger scale productions. On the other hand, Angel Muñoz, who has worked with some of the biggest names such as Paco Peña, will present a more intimate vision with his show From White to Black.

Contemporary and traditional come together in Trasmin from Belen Maya Company. Belen and Manuel Liñan, two dancers from different generations are united by their love of dance and mutual admiration for one another. Tradition will be represented in Gala Flamenca: The Five Seasons, where four of the most exciting figures on the flamenco scene will share the stage to showcase flamenco variety in one single evening. Farruquito will bring the gypsy flamenco puro with his new show Improvisao.

Audiences can also enjoy flamenco music with Miguel Poveda, who will be accompanied by a great dancer Susana "La Lupi", who demonstrates percussive techniques through her hands, feet and body, or the Catalan folk singer Silvia Perez Cruz, winner of a Goya award for “Best original song” from the film Blancanieves (2012).

LC: What makes up a flamenco show? How does it differ from other dance performances? 

MM: Flamenco is a very direct art from, where the intensity and depth of the emotion is able to touch the hearts of people regardless of their cultural background. The structure of flamenco allows artists to improvise and to be free. This brings the “duende” of the magic to the stage and the audience can feel it. You do not need to understand it, it is not a dance or a music for the mind, it is an art form that you feel from your heart. It is amazing for me to see how all over the world people, without knowing Spanish or what the singer is saying, are able to connect with the artist; the flamenco music is so powerful it can create a spell and make you feel as thought you are in Andalucia, the birthplace of Flamenco.

LC: Do you have any particular highlights out of this year’s festival?

MM: The festival is designed so that you can have different experiences depending on the shows you choose to watch. What is guaranteed is that not a single show will leave you untouched. 

LC: How do audiences in London compare to those in Spain and elsewhere?

MM: London audiences are very cultivated and knowledgeable, and are experts within the arts. After eleven years with the flamenco festival they have developed the taste for flamenco, as I think the more you know, the more you have seen, the more you are able to enjoy as you can appreciate the nuances and details of the dance. Also many Londoners know who is who in flamenco today, as they have followed the growth of flamenco artists, in particular those that have performed at the Festival multiple times such as Eva Yerbabuena.

Three artists from last year’s festival have been nominated for the National Dance Awards of the Critic´s Circle. I think this shows the maturity in the relationship between the artist and the audience. The nominations are:

·      Eva Yerbabuena (Ballet Flamenco Eva Yerbabuena) – Best Female Dancer

·      Israel Galvan (for flamenco performances at Sadler's Wells) – Outstanding Male Performance Classical

·      Rocío Molina (in Danzaora at Sadler's Wells) – Outstanding Female Performance Modern

LC: What would you say to someone who doesn’t know anything about flamenco? Why should they check it out?

MM: You don't need to know anything about flamenco. The art form allows you to connect with your deepest emotions and to have a great time…come and experience it.

LC: The Festival is going from strength to strength – what do you have planned for the future?

MM: I would like that the festival becomes a meeting point of artists from Spain and artist from London. I would like to develop a program of residencies to give artists opportunities to work together, where they can meet, exchange ideas and collaborate. I think this is the future of the festival, which is not just to show, but also to participate in the creative process of the artists through commissions, co- productions, collaborations and residencies.

Flamenco Festival London takes place at Sadler’s Wells from 1st – 15th March. Tickets from £12, further information and full listings available here.

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