As spring creeps around, Carmen Montes is ready to unveil a new flamenco season to the world.
The executive director of Casa Flamenca, Montes works tirelessly with her staff to curate a season of flamenco dancing for the community.
“There has been this metamorphosis for me,” Montes says. “It’s interesting how we are going to be more than a flamenco school.”
Casa Flamenca is kicking off its tablao season at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, at its headquarters at 401 Rio Grande Blvd. NW.
Montes will be joined on stage by guitarist Juan de la Isla, dancer Elena Osuna and Aaron “El Cigarra” Santiago for the first performance of the season.
The organization is also expanding its community efforts around Albuquerque. Montes and her teachers will teach 10 children with Down Syndrome flamenco for six weeks.
“I know I can make a difference in the community,” she says. “We will continue to teach adult flamenco classes. Our children’s classes are not happening because the National Institute of Flamenco already has a robust program. To do something similar is nonsense.”
Montes says the first tablao of the season will be glimpses of what Casa Flamenca will bring for the season.
The organization in Old Town hosts its Flamenco Al Aire in the summer.
The plan for the summer is to have dancers Carmen Ledesma and Alejandro Granado, as well as Sebastian Sanchez, who will sing.
De la Isla will perform guitar. He also helps Montes curate the season.
“We will have singers from Spain for the season,” she says. “I feel that this year gives us the opportunity to create something really special for the season.”
One of the new endeavors is ABQOff, which is a festival that would run during the off times during NIF’s Festival Flamenco de Alburquerque.
Montes says she took the idea to Marisol Encinias at NIF about the smaller flamenco festival and got her blessing.
“We aren’t competing with the festival,” Montes says. “We are a complementary festival. The plan is to have a fashion show, as well as a photography exhibit.”