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Festival marks 30 years of world-class flamenco in Albuquerque

Thirty years ago, Eva Encinias-Sandoval had a vision of bringing world-class flamenco to Albuquerque.

Now she is humbled by how the Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque has grown over the past three decades.

Adrian Santana will present Simbiosis on June 12 at The Rodey Theatre on University of New Mexicos campus.

“We’re so proud of the event, and it’s hard to believe that we’re at this point,” she says. “Thirty years is a long time. To say the least, we’re proud of the effort we’ve put into the festival.”

Each June, the National Institute of Flamenco and the University of New Mexico host Festival Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque, bringing the finest flamenco artists in the world to Albuquerque. Encinias-Sandoval is the executive director of the National Institute of Flamenco.

For a week, the city is filled with the pulse of flamenco and is transformed into a cultural center for the art form.

This tradition celebrates flamenco, the ancient form of artistic expression of the Spanish-Gypsy culture. The lure of flamenco is its ability to explore the full range of human emotion with an intense, vibrant quality that leaves audiences and students alike captivated.

Rosario Toledo will present “ADN” on June 14 at Rodey Theatre.

Festival Flamenco has grown into one of the most anticipated international events for flamenco.

This year’s event will feature 58 visiting artists, who will perform across eight main stages.

There will also be five tablao performances at Hotel Albuquerque. Tablao flamenco shows are performed in a smaller setting with food and drinks.

And there will be 35 workshops for all levels of experience in flamenco dancing.

“The biggest challenge is to continue to bring world-class dancers,” Encinias-Sandoval says. “These are dancers at the top of the genre. They are expensive to bring to Albuquerque. They are worth it. There’s no other time to see this caliber of dance.”

Maria Moreno will present “Alas de Recuerdo” on June 11 at Rodey Theatre.

The main stage performances will have pieces by Compañía Marco Flores, Compañía Maria Moreno, Compañía Adrián Santana, Compañía Pepe Torres, Compañía Rosario Toledo and Compañía Jesus Carmona. There will be a Fiesta Flamenca on June 16-17 that features members of all the companies.

The purpose of this project is to preserve and promote flamenco’s artistry, history and culture among both national and international communities.

While the presentation aspect is primarily cultivated for those seeking an aesthetic experience, the educational piece aims to promote unique and culturally relevant learning experiences for artistic practitioners, theorists and newcomers.

Encinias-Sandoval says the educational aspect of the festival includes workshops and lectures that address multiple aspects of flamenco, such as the history and development of the art form, dance and rhythmic sound patterns.

These classes are available and designed for students of all ages and backgrounds, creating a multigenerational, diverse atmosphere that promotes excellence, knowledge and personal growth.

“We also look for ways to make it easier for families to afford the workshops,” she says. “We want the entire community to be able to be involved in the festival.”

Because New Mexico has hosted Festival Flamenco for 30 years, the state is regarded as the center for flamenco in the United States, attracting over 5,500 students and patrons to this one-of-a-kind event, unparalleled in the quality of its scope and programming.

“The purpose of the festival is to bring together the community,” Encinias-Sandoval says. “We wanted to bring flamenco to Albuquerque. The community has embraced the festival for 30 years. We’ve seen the love and appreciation for the dance grow. It’s amazing to see new generations finding flamenco and its beauty.”