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La Emi headlines season at venue where she made her debut

At 10 years old, Emmy Grimm knew she wanted to perform.

As she took the stage at the Lodge at Santa Fe under the direction of famed flamenco dancer María Benítez, nerves took over.

But she managed to overcome them and get a taste of a live performance.

Flash forward 17 years, and Grimm will headline a 39-show season inside the Benitez Cabaret at the Lodge at Santa Fe.

And yes, the nerves are still there.

“It’s incredible to have this opportunity,” Grimm says in a recent interview. “I never dreamed that I would be headlining on the same stage that I got my start. There are so many emotions. All these years later, I’m still nervous each time I take the stage.”

Grimm is known as La Emi.

The season opens tonight in Santa Fe, and Grimm is looking forward to elevating her performances during the run.

It’s taken months of planning, and she has partnered with the Albuquerque-based National Institute of Flamenco for the season, as well as getting support from Heritage Hotels & Resorts.

“It’s a huge blessing again to be able to partner with the NIF,” she says. “They are making it possible. When you have that support from an organization that has been in the field since before I was born, it’s a great feeling.”

Joining her from the NIF will be brothers Nevarez and Jose Encinias.

Ysabela Trujillo, Andrea Lozano and Noelle Encinias will round out the dance ensemble for some shows.

As far as music goes, there are some heavy hitters.

Spanish singer Jose Fernandez makes his way to Santa Fe from Granada, Spain, where he takes the lead on cante.

New Mexico native Vicente Griego will join Fernandez on certain appearances.

Spain native Jose “Chuscales” Valle will be on guitar for the shows. He will be accompanied by Eloy Gonzales.

Griego, who is also Grimm’s godfather, has watched her career grow over the years and is excited to be part of the season.

“You wait for the moment to come along and as a performer, you have to know you’re ready,” Griego says. “As far as Emmy goes … she’s ready.”

Grimm says NIF Associate Director Joaquin Encinias will be the artistic director for the show.

“We also have six rotating core dancers from NIF, and there are a variety of numbers that we will perform,” she says.

Grimm will be dancing the “Cordóba” – a classical number Benitez taught Grimm when she was 15.

In addition to the season, Grimm will have the students from her Flamenco Youth de Santa Fe perform at the Sunday shows.

“The opportunity was so huge when I was a little girl,” she says. “Giving the students a chance to perform on a professional stage. I have these girls in my group, and I see this as an opportunity that I had at a young age. It’s taking them a step in the right direction. If they follow their dreams, they can achieve it. I’m living proof that it all can come true.”

Grimm will always be a student of flamenco, no matter where her journey takes her.

Her EmiArte Flamenco will continue working with children across the state.

“I want every child to get the chance to dance,” she says. “I want to get more involved with the community. As a professional, I want to tour with my company and be in the moment. I can’t worry more about what’s in front of me.”

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