The 15th Chicago Flamenco Festival opens Friday, February 24, bringing Chicagoans a month of music, dancing, and exploration of flamenco culture.
The festival, put on by Instituto Cervantes, brings together flamenco’s most acclaimed artists, along with a slew of promising up and comers for a comprehensive flamenco experience.
“We started to bring to Chicago flamenco artists that have participated in Spain in the most relevant flamenco festivals…we invited them to participate and come to Chicago,” said Instituto Cervantes Director Antonio Martinez Luciano. “We also have included for the first time where we want to show where flamenco is heading these days.”
Martinez Luciano said as the world becomes more global, other music and styles work their way into flamenco performances, and the festival showcases this evolution, as well.
Most important, however, is to make sure the festival includes the three main components of flamenco: the dancer, the flamenco guitar music, and the singer.
“We always bring a female dancer, because that is the most colorful and passionate element. We also bring…the Spanish flamenco guitar, because that is the key instrument, and of course, the singer,” Martinez Luciano said.
This year, the festival is adding two male flamenco dancers to the mix, too.
Other highlight’s of this year’s festival include the U.S. premiere of Anabel Veloso’s Secreto A Voces, the Chicago premiere of the documentary J: Beyond Flamenco (JOTA) at the Gene Siskel Film Center, and a collaboration with Flamenco Eñe for concerts featuring Josemi Carmona, Javier Colina, and Alfonso Aroca.
Three Chicago dance companies will also participate in the festival.
“It would not be possible without the collaboration of the local groups,” said Martinez Luciano.
Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater performs on February 24 for opening night as a prelude to Anabel Veloso’s Secreto A Voces. The company performs flamenco, folk dance, and Spanish ballets from its residence at Northern Illinois University.
The following night on February 25, Chicago’s Clinard Dance Company opens for a repeat performance of Secreto A Voces. Clinard works in its own unique flamenco style.
Chicago’s flamenco company KANUTZ performs on Friday, March 3 before Spain’s Lakshmi Basile “La Chimi” takes the stage.
Chicago-based Flamenco dancer Chiara Mangiameli also performs on Friday, March 24.
“Flamenco is such an interesting, passionate type of art,” Martinez Luciano said. “I was impressed the first time I saw the response of the audience, how Chicago audiences really love it. It’s nice to bring some sort of happiness and moments of joy to the people…to get to know other artistic expressions from other cultures I think is important, probably now more than ever.”
Instituto Cervantes of Chicago started the flamenco festival 15 years ago. Founded by Spain with the goal of promoting the Spanish language and culture of Hispanic countries, Instituto Cervantes operates in 40 countries and opened its Chicago branch in 1996.
Tickets for February 24’s opening night and March 25’s closing night are $35, or $30 for students and Instituto Cervantes members. All other performance tickets are $25 and $20, respectively. Tickets for all shows are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com.
Tickets for the film Beyond Flamenco (JOTA) are $11 general admission, $7 for students and Instituto Cervantes members, and $6 for Gene Siskel Film Center members. Tickets are available at www.siskelfilmcenter.org.
The full performance schedule is below. All performances take place at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio Street.
Friday, February 24 – 7:00 p.m.
Opening Night Concert & Reception
Anabel Veloso’s Secreto A Voces with Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater
Saturday, February 25 – 7:00 p.m.
Anabel Veloso’s Secreto A Voces with Clinard Dance Company
Wednesday, March 1 – 8:30 p.m.
Tamar Ilana & Ventanas
**held at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln Ave. Chicago
Friday, March 3 – 7:00 p.m.
La Chimi with KANTUZ
Saturday, March 4 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 10 – 7:00 p.m.
Alfonso Aroca “Orilla Del Mundo”
Tuesday, March 14 – 7:00 p.m.
Josemi Carmona & Javier Colina’s “De Cerca” with Volcano Radar
Friday, March 17 & Saturday, March 18 – 7:00 p.m.
Friday, March 24 – 7:00 p.m.
Isaac de los Reyes & Amparo Heredia with Chiara Mangiameli
Saturday, March 25 – 7:00 p.m.
Closing Night Concert & Reception
Isaac de los Reyes & Amparo Heredia