Flamenco Professional Development and Community Engagement
There is a strong appetite for flamenco dance in St John’s, this was perhaps seeded when Evelyne Benais of El Viento Flamenco lived here in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Several Evelyne’s students continue to train and teach flamenco in St John’s, but they are eager for professional training opportunities. In 2017 and 2018 NDW committed to work with this group to develop a 1-week residency with Andrea Williams of Raíces y Alas Flamenco as the lead facilitator. Williams is originally from St John’s, and now makes her home in Vancouver,
This 2-year Flamenco Project supported the local flamenco community to access training and peer support with skilled Flamenco Practitioners in the field. Our goal is to set up a series of professional classes as well as one-on-one mentorship, so that local flamenco artists can advance technical and choreographic skills. The residency will culminate in a series of site-specific performances by Raíces y Alas Flamenco, specially her work táctil, which uses a range of dance surfaces to explore sonic texture in relation to flamenco ‘footwork’s’ music. By using the FND as an anchor for expanded outreach we hosted two festival artists in St John’s for one week prior to FND 2017. The artists involved were Andrea Williams & Michelle Harding of Raices y Alas.
The following activities were completed in the Flamenco Residency:
· 1 week of professional development classes for two levels of flamenco students (22 students)
· 2 classroom visits and demonstrations (grade 4 students, Bishop Feild Elementary) (56 students)
· 1 university lecture with Memorial University in Masters Studies with Ellen Waterman (12 master students)
· 1 university public lunchtime presentation at the QEII Library (estimated 90-125 viewers)
· 2 public lunchtime presentations at Atlantic Place (estimated 130-150 viewers)
· creative exchange and shared learning with a group of local flamenco musicians (5 local artists)
· sold out public presentation at the Masonic Temple featuring a performance with workshop participants, musical acts and works from Raices y Alas’ repertoire. (175 audience members)
· The dancers then ventured across the island to Gander and Corner Brook where the Arts and Culture Centre hosted additional flamenco workshops.