Flamenco Fanfare

Dallas Flamenco Festival's Artistic Director Delilah Buitron
Dallas Flamenco Festival’s Artistic Director Delilah Buitron

Artistic Director Delilah Buitrón discusses the Orchestra of New Spain and Dallas Flamenco Festival collaboration, The Rise of Flamenco, as well as the art form’s origins.

Dallas — The Dallas Arts District gives local arts groups a bigger platform to share their talents. A prime example is this weekend’s event “The Rise of Flamenco: Lorca, Falla, Sorolla, Andalusia, 1920-39,” Feb. 14-15, 2014, at Dallas City Performance Hall.

The event is presented under the umbrella of the Orchestra of New Spain, in collaboration with Dallas Flamenco Festival, Mejia Ballet International, DGDG (Danielle Georgiou Dance Group) and Dallas Ballet Folklorico. The showcase will bring to life the international influences of poet and playwright Federico García Lorca, composer Manuel de Falla and painter Joaquín Sorolla. The festival also features choreographer Antonio Arrebola, singers Cristo Cortes and Chayito Champion, guitarist Ricardo Díaz and Dallas Flamenco Festival’s Artistic Director Delilah Buitrón.

A native Texan, Buitrón received her BFA in Theatre and T.V. Communications from Hofstra University in New York. After graduation she moved to Spain where she studied Spanish Classical and Flamenco at the Isabel Quintero Conservatory and the Amor de Dios School of Flamenco. Since then Buitrón has performed in Mexico City’s touring production of Carmen, The Dallas Opera’s production of La Vida Brave and portrayed the Cuban Salsa Legend La Lupe in Martice Enterprise’s musical production La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny. Buitrón opened up Estudio Flamenco Dallas in 2011. Along with teaching she is also the founder of The Flame Foundation and The Dallas Flamenco Festival Inc.

TheaterJones asks Delilah Buitrón to share her Flamenco background, what motivated her to start the Dallas Flamenco Festival and what audiences can expect at this year’s event.

TheaterJones: What motivated you to create the Dallas Flamenco Festival?

Delilah Buitrón: We [the festival’s organizers] wanted to bring forth what has already been established here in Dallas in terms of Flamenco. We have been doing the festival since 2009 and little by little it has been growing. Now, we have our resident artist, Antonio Arrebola, who is a famous Flamenco dancer from Málaga, Spain. We are also collaborating and influencing other genres of dance to help the Flamenco art form to grow. We are planting seeds because there hasn’t been a very strong Flamenco following for a long time. There are communities, but they are small and we want to help them grow. And by putting on this festival and bringing in the best possible guest artists to work with our great groups of dancers and artists we can broaden people’s awareness of Flamenco.

Can you tell me a little bit about the origins of Flamenco dancing?

Sure! Flamenco is a fusion of many different cultures that originated in Andalusia in southern Spain, and it’s a beautiful art form. We call it an art form because it continues to thrive today and continues to evolve. Flamenco dancing is also accompanied by live music, including the singers and the guitar. The dance itself contains rhythmic patterns of hand clapping and heel articulation and our elbows are always up. Flamenco is not a social art. You have to take it and do it for a while and really make it part of your life.

When did you make Flamenco dancing part of your life?

I have been dancing Flamenco since I was really young. My mom put me in a dance school to take ballet like every little girl, but she also wanted me to take Spanish Classical and Flamenco classes. I would say my passion for Flamenco didn’t happen till I went to Spain in 2000 and lived there and really immersed myself in the art form.

Have you worked with the Orchestra of New Spain before this festival?

Oh yes, as an actor, singer and Flamenco dancer. I did a show with them in 2006 at Southern Methodist University and I have stayed in contact with them. So, I have known the orchestra for quite a while now and this year marks their 25th anniversary and we wanted to do something special for them.

What can the audience expect to see at this year’s Dallas Flamenco Festival?

This year’s festival is more like an Operetta. So, it’s like going to the Opera but with the best Flamenco singers, dancers and actors bringing Manuel de Falla’s El Corregidor y la Molinera to life. We want to transport the audience to 1920’s and 30’s Spain through the best of Federico García Lorca and Manuel de Falla, a composer at that time, as well as the best Flamenco and Spanish stylizations that they have ever seen. And it’s not just Flamenco. There is Spanish folk dancing as well. Flamenco will come at the end of the show. You will see the rawest most purist Flamenco you will ever see. And that’s why the show is called The Rise of Flamenco. Everything leads up to this explosion that is Flamenco.

This Q&A was originally posted on TheaterJones.com.

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