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Pasion Y Arte Flamenco

Friday, Oct. 22

Pasion y Arte (PyA), Philadelphia’s premier all female contemporary flamenco company, will perform an exciting evening that includes excerpts from an original work La Bolvianita, with choreography by PyA Artistic Director Elba Hevia y Vaca and directed by Belen Maya, and traditional tablao.

In La Bolivianita, dancer and choreographer Elba Hevia y Vaca, explores her lifelong artistic journey with flamenco. First introduced to flamenco through her family’s pride in their Spanish heritage, La Bolivianita delves into the artist’s emotional and changing relationship with her beloved art form. The autobiographical work examines themes of primary importance to Hevia y Vaca, including her experiences as an artist, an immigrant, and as a mother and daughter.  As the artist ages and comes to term with her recent discovery made through DNA research that she is primarily descended from the indigenous Andean rather than the Spaniards, La Bolivianita poses many questions, one of which is: How does information about one’s genetics change the perception one has of oneself and how they see themselves in the world? La Bolivianta premiered at the 2019 Philadelphia Fringe Festival. 

The second half of the performance will be comprised of a traditional tablao performance, featuring Barbara Martinez (cante), Adrian Alvarado on toque (guitar) and Alex Shaw on percussion, with dancers Amelia Hernandez, Paloma Rios, and Elba Cena. Tablaos are exciting improvisational flamenco performances that take place in casual venues, much like what occurs at a jazz club or at a poetry reading. Tablaos are still staged in clubs the world over, while new generations of flamenco artists now create more formally choreographed and experimental work which are presented in major theaters and performing arts centers. 

Flamenco emerged as a unique art form in the 15th century. Spanish Gypsies (or Roma) danced flamenco privately in their rural homes. The dance gradually migrated from the countryside to the cities in the south of Spain, where Gypsy artists performed on the streets and in plazas. By the 1840s, nightclubs called “Cafes del Cante” began to host flamenco tablaos, giving flamencos the opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary skills at improvisation movement within the confines of strict musical and rhythmic structures. The cafes were the first enterprises to pay flamenco dancers, singers, and musicians and commercial flamenco was born.

From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, highly acclaimed flamenco artists danced in Cafes del Cante. Tablao performances helped flamenco to grow in expressive range and aesthetic precision, exposing non-Gypsy audiences to the art form. 

Whether you  love Flamenco or are entirely new to its traditions, the spirited gatherings of the tablao are a unique opportunity to learn more about and fall in love with this vibrant art form.


Friday, Oct. 22, 8:00pm to 9:30pm - Lang Performing Arts Center Room (LPAC) - Pearson-Hall Theatre