North Central College - Naperville, IL

College hosts month-long Flamenco Festival in February

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Contact: Nancy Dunker, associate director of public relations, 630-637-5306

Jan. 28, 2010--North Central College will host a month-long Flamenco Festival in February that showcases the emotive, rhythmic music and dance from Spanish culture. Several events are planned--including performances, dance classes, films, a lecture and photography exhibit. All are open to the public and most are free.

The festival includes two featured events: The 40-member Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater will give a ticketed performance on Feb. 19, and the Las Guitarras de España (The Guitars of Spain) ensemble will perform Feb. 22.

The Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater presents "Flamenco Passion" at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, in North Central's Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. The company includes 40 dancers, singers and musicians who share rich traditions of the dance, music, literature and culture of Spain in the classical, folkloric and flamenco styles. They have performed worldwide and appeared in a wide range of cultural and educational arts programs for television, film and concert formats, including with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Tickets are $25 and $15; call the North Central College Box Office at 630-637-SHOW (7469) or visit

The Chicago-based flamenco group Las Guitarras de España will give a free performance and lecture at noon Monday, Feb. 22, in Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. The group performs Spanish guitar-influenced world music and dance and is influenced by Latin American and Middle Eastern styles, including American jazz.

The Flamenco Festival also presents the following free events:

Lecture Feb. 2:
A lecture titled "The Art of Flamenco" by North Central's Spanish instructor Jelena Sanchez will kick off the festival at noon Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Koten Chapel at Kiekhofer Hall, 329 E. School St. Sanchez will give a visual presentation of the artistic expression of the gypsies, who initiated the art of flamenco.

Flamenco films Feb. 2, 9, 16:
Three films will be shown at noon on Tuesdays, Feb. 2, 9 and 16, in Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. The free screenings are:
• Feb. 2: "The Flamenco Clan," a documentary about a legendary gypsy family and the musical group Ketama (English subtitles).
• Feb. 9: "Carmen," an award-winning film by Spanish director Carlos Saura about a flamenco teacher obsessed with his production of the classic opera and the beautiful dancer who plays the lead role of Carmen (English subtitles).
• Feb. 16: "Gypsy Heart," a documentary about a gypsy flamenco dancer named Omayra Amaya and her search for identity in the United States away from her home in Andalucía (English).

Flamenco classes Feb. 4, 11, 18:
Jelena Sanchez will teach flamenco arm and body movements, footwork, clapping, the use of fans and more from noon to 2 p.m. Thursdays, Feb. 4, 11 and 18, in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave.

Flamenco photography exhibit Feb. 22-26:
A photography exhibit by Jelena Sanchez, titled "Burbujas de amor" (love bubbles), will showcase portraits of a new era of student flamenco enthusiasts using eclectic flamenco expressions. On display Monday through Friday, Feb. 22-26, from noon to 3 p.m. in the first floor lobby of Kiekhofer Hall, 329 E. School St., the exhibit is meant to inspire and engage the campus community in a cross-cultural discourse.

Guajiras dance class Feb. 25:
Professional flamenco dancer Chiara Mangiameli will teach Guajiras-a Spanish, flamenco-Cuban dance that incorporates fans-from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. A native Italian, Mangiameli has performed as a vocalist and dancer worldwide and alongside guitarist Jose "Pansekyto" Cortes as a guest singer in the Ensemble Español's 30th anniversary tour. Her flamenco studies took her to Seville to work with dancers Carmen Gamero, Yolanda Heredia and singer Emilio Cabello, and she began collaborating as a singer and dancer with the ensemble Las Guitarras in 2005.

With the exception of the Feb. 19 performance by the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, sponsors of the festival are North Central's student club Fusión Española, Student Governing Association, the Office of Academic Affairs and Office of International Programs. For more information contact Jelena Sanchez, North Central adjunct instructor of Spanish, at 630-637-5275.

These events are some of many ongoing programs hosted at North Central College to enrich and broaden the academic and cultural outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, art exhibits, lectures and theatrical productions, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).