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Gerald Carpenter: Flamenco Festival Kicks Up Its Heels This Weekend

Program features showing of film 'Flamenco Flamenco'

Flamenco dancer Patricia Guerrero introduces her new show, “Upclose,” Saturday at the Lobero.
Flamenco dancer Patricia Guerrero introduces her new show, “Upclose,” Saturday at the Lobero. (Courtesy Lobero Theatre)

The 2017 Flamenco Arts Festival opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28, with a screening of the movie, Flamenco Flamenco, directed by the famous Spanish film-maker, Carlos Saura, with cinematography by the even more famous Italian cameraman, Vittorio Storaro.

The Flamenco Arts Festival describes Flamenco Flamenco as "a musical journey through a dynamic and universal art form that reaches far beyond the borders of flamenco and Spanish culture.

"[The film] showcases 21 powerful and dazzling performances by some of the greatest flamenco masters and young artists living today, including this year’s guest artist Patricia Guerrero," who will be on stage after the film  to talk about working with Carlos Saura and her show this Saturday.

Guerrero, with Juan José Amador and Paco Iglesias, will be the focus of the climactic event of this year's festival: a concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Lobero, featuring the United States premiere of Upclose.

Guerrero has burst upon the tradition-bound world of flamenco like a star-shell. She mastered and internalized all the established steps, moves, rhythms, gestures and attitudes, to the point where she can add a good deal of herself to the mix and not have it jar.

Onto a solid flamenco base, she has grafted elements of classical ballet, of tango, and even of gymnastics, to produce performances that are, quite literally, breathtaking.

Part of the evening's memorable events will be the presentation of the Alberto Pizano Award for the Arts to the Lobero's executive director, David Asbell, a friend and mentor to the Flamenco Arts Festival since its foundation, in 1999.

Given in recognition of a lifetime of dedication to the arts through leadership, the award used to be called The Lifetime Achievement Award, and was recently renamed to honor Alberto Pizano, co-founder and president of the festival from 1999-2015.

Tickets to the opening night screening are $12.50 reserved seating; $10.50 for children 12 and under.

Tickets to Upclose are $52 (Section B), $72 (Section A), and $107 (VIP). Tickets to all festival events are available at the Lobero box office, 33 E. Canon Perdido St.; by phone, 963-0761; or online at http://checkout.lobero.com/single/SYOS.aspx?p=10061.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.


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