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‘A lot of improvisation’: Yjastros opens season with livestreamed tablao flamenco show

Giovanna Hinojosa, left, Alisa Alba and José Enicinias perform as part of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company. (Courtesy of Emily Joanne)

Putting on a flamenco show under current public health orders can be difficult.

Yet the National Institute of Flamenco has come up with a way to open the 2021 season of Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company.

“It’s pretty interesting the way this is timed out,” says Joaquin Encinias, NIF artistic director. “We decided to do a video production of flamenco at the tablao. It’s streamed live, but we’re still getting to dance in person.”

The new season for Yjastros opens at 8 p.m. Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10.

Encinias says the performance is the company’s return to the art of flamenco in the tablao setting.

Similar to a club dedicated to jazz music, a tablao is a performance venue especially made for flamenco. Tablaos are typically smaller venues with a stage surrounded by close-up seating where audience members can eat, drink and take part in an intimate performance.

After more than a year of performance venues around the world being closed due to the pandemic – and many of Spain’s most iconic tablaos closing their doors forever – Encinias says Yjastros is privileged to be able to perform in the beautiful Tablao Flamenco Albuquerque.

In preparation for this event, Encinias and Yjastros members have embarked on a deep investigation of the skills of tablao performance.

From left, Carlos Menchaca, Nevarez Encinias and Marisol Encinias perform as part of Yjastros. (Courtesy of National Institute of Flamenco)

“Dancing in this setting, there is a lot of improvisation,” he says. “I’ve been working with the dancers on each piece they will be working. It’s been pretty easy to keep the dancers all socially distant during the performance.”

Encinias credits his sister, Marisol, with putting a tablao music project together at the University of New Mexico.

“We’re studying the art of dancing in the tablao again, and we have incredible resources,” he says. “Tablao music is difficult to come by. Yjastros gets to use that music, and we can benefit from the incredible project Marisol started.”

After the first shows, on Friday, April 9, and Saturday, April 10, Encinias says, a show will be performed every week for the rest of April.

“We will be showcasing some of the younger dancers in the company,” he says. “They are all learning how the tablao works.”

The NIF also has the first episode of the free web series “The Language of Tablao” available on its YouTube and Vimeo channels.




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