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Dancer returns from Spain

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The flamenco concert “Un Paseo por Andalucía” translates as “A Walk through Andalucía.”

But award-winning Alice Blumenfeld will hardly do much walking.

Blumenfeld is a young flamenco dancer from Albuquerque whose professional performances already have been described as fierce and exhilarating.

The “walk” of the program’s title is an invitation for the audience to visit the various flamenco rhythms from the small communities of the region of Andalucía in southern Spain.

In the Saturday, Aug. 31 concert at the Outpost Performance Space, a basic flamenco ensemble will present some of these rhythms. Blumenfeld and Antonio Arrebola will be dancing, Vicente Griego singing and Ricardo Anglada playing guitar.

“The ambience I want to recreate is very personal, that of the flamenco peñas, the clubs whose members maintain flamenco traditions,” the 23-year-old Blumenfeld said.

“The peñas are a key cultural element for flamenco in Andalucía.”

Among the rhythms to be performed are the light, soft Malagueña from Málaga; the happy, fast Cantiñas from Cadiz; the Soleá from Sevilla, which Blumenfeld said is believed to be the mother of all flamenco rhythms; the Bulerias al Golpe, a slow, playful rhythm from the towns of Utrera and Lebrija; and a Taranto from the Levante, which is the southeast coast of Andalucía.

The Taranto will have Blumenfeld dancing a long solo, maybe 12 to 15 minutes.

“The rhythms starts out very, very slow and free of any meter,” she said. “The end of the dance goes into an almost double time, called Tangos.”

The program finale, “Fin de Fiesta,” will have a lot of improvisation for Blumenfeld and possible for the other three performers as well.

“One reason I love flamenco is the improvisational element. It’s not the same dance over and over. We can express ourselves in the moment,” she said.

But that very quality demands that the ensemble members have forms of nonverbal communication with each other, such as through the steps.

At the same time, there is a kind of personal communication between the performers and the audience.

Blumenfeld started studying flamenco at age 12 with Benigna Sanchez and then at the National Institute of Flamenco. She attended Albuquerque Academy and New York University, where she was a comparative literature major but wrote her senior thesis on flamenco.

Blumenfeld has been a professional dancer for five years. She recently returned from Sevilla, Spain, where she performed and studied flamenco under a one-year Fulbright Grant. Blumenfeld is also a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts.

After the Aug. 31 concert, she plans to return to New York City, where she will dance with the Flamenco Vivo company, will solo in a show with Danza España and dance in restaurant shows and in small theater settings.

She intends to return to Spain in the spring to continue studying and performing flamenco.

“I love to dance in general, and flamenco particularly gives me a freedom of expression that I haven’t found in any other dance or art form,” Blumenfeld said.

“The complexity of the music never ceases to challenge me and inspire me. …”

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