Arts & Entertainment

Sara Baras returns to US with “most emotional” dance show of her career

By Ana Mengotti

Miami, Mar 14 (EFE).- Dancer Sara Baras – once again on the verge of performing for the public in Miami, New York and Washington – told EFE that she hopes that her embrace of bolero in “Alma” (Soul), the “strongest emotional show” of her career, motivates American fans of flamenco just as much as it does herself.

“I did it as a gift for my (deceased) father, without knowing that it was going to be such a great gift for me,” Baras told EFE from Spain, from where she will travel to Miami on Wednesday to participate in the Flamenco Festival that will kick off on Thursday, March 16, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts.

The 51-year-old dancer and choreographer is convinced that her performances in Miami on March 17, 18 and 19 and those she will offer later at the New York City Center (March 23-26) and at Washington’s Kennedy Center (March 29-30) will be “magical nights.”

“The response of the public (in the US) has always been so nice that, although I haven’t left yet, I already want to return,” she said.

In Miami, the 14th Flamenco Festival has superstar Baras in the lineup, along with Spanish dancer now settled in Miami Irene Lozano and flamenco guitar master Rafael Riqueni.

Baras, who made her debut at the yearly Miami festival in 2019 with “Sombras” (Shadows), is returning for the first time since them with “Alma,” a show that was first put on on Dec. 17, 2021 at the Teatro de la Maestranza in Seville, Spain, and about which she said that “above all, it speaks about the flamenco heart and the soul of bolero.”

The bolero is part of Baras’s musical identity, but also part of the musical identity of Miami’s large Cuban community, in particular, and the city’s Latin American community in general.

Her father introduced her to the genre born in Cuba and laden with feelings.

“It seems to me that (Miami) is going to be one of the places where this fusion is going to be valued most,” that is “the cadence of the bolero with the energy and power of flamenco,” she said.

Except for “Alma,” created for this show, the other boleros are very well-known melodies, including “Toda una vida” or “Vete de mi,” with which flamenco voices and the most traditional types of flamenco – such as the seguiriya, the solea and the garrotin – have been combined.

“Emotionally, it’s very strong. Apart from delivering 100 percent, as in all my shows, I’m seeking the soul of the person,” said the dancer, who is in charge of the direction, script and choreography, while the music itself is the responsibility of Keko Baldomero.

On the stage, Baras will be accompanied by seven musicians and a six-person group of dancers.

She also said that the talents of singers Israel Fernandez, Rancapino Chico and Juana la del Pipa will be added to the voices of Rubio de Pruna and Matias Lopez “El Mati” onstage, and with Alex Romero on the piano.

The festival will open on March 16 with the performance of “Las mujeres que viven en mi” (The women who live within me) by Irene Lozano, one of the figures of the new generation of flamenco.

The closing performance on March 19 will feature Rafael Riqueni, one of the world’s most renowned flamenco guitarists, who will offer an open-air concert, the first of its kind at Miami’s Flamenco Festival.

Riqueni, who to date has never performed in Miami, was nominated in 2021 for a Latin Grammy for best flamenco album for “Herencia.”

Baras, who presented “Alma” in January in Australia, said that the universality of flamenco dancing can be felt not only among the public but also in the fact that there are more and more local dancers and flamenco companies all over the world “with the same art and talent” that one can find in Spain.

“There’s less and less distance” between us, she said with satisfaction.

The Miami, New York and Washington festivals are all the “offspring” of the Flamenco Festival, which was founded in 2001 in New York by Miguel Marin and which currently is the biggest platform for flamenco on the international cultural scene.

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