North Central College - Naperville, IL

Flamenco Festival showcases dance, music, art, film, lecture

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Jelena Sanchez, adjunct instructor of Spanish, teaches flamenco dance

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

Jan. 31, 2011—North Central College will host the fourth annual 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 renowned dance company Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana will give a ticketed performance on Feb. 3, and the Las Guitarras de España (The Guitars of Spain) ensemble will perform Feb. 16.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, one of the nation’s premier flamenco dance troupes, will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 3, in North Central’s Pfeiffer Hall, 310 E. Benton Ave. The company has actively encouraged the creativity and innovation of young artists from Spain and the United States while keeping the company faithful to the powerful traditions of flamenco. 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 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, 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. Professional flamenco dancer Chiara Mangiameli will also perform.

The Flamenco Festival also presents the following events:

Lecture Feb. 1:
A free lecture titled “The Art of Flamenco” by North Central’s Spanish instructor Jelena Sánchez will kick off the festival at noon Tuesday, Feb. 1, in Heininger Auditorium at Larrance Academic Center, 309 E. School St. Sanchez will give a visual presentation of the artistic expression of the gypsies, who initiated the art of flamenco. Refreshments will be served.

Flamenco dance classes Feb. 7, 14, 17, 21, 28:
•    Feb. 7, 14, 21, 28: Jelena Sánchez will teach flamenco dance for beginners from noon to 1 p.m. Mondays, Feb. 7, 14, 21, and 28, in Heininger Auditorium at Larrance Academic Center, 309 E. School St. Admission is $5/person; proceeds benefit the College’s Spanish Club.
•    Feb. 17: Professional flamenco dancer Chiara Mangiameli will teach Tango flamenco dance from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 17, in Madden Theatre at the Fine Arts Center, 171 E. Chicago Ave. Admission is free. 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. She began collaborating as a singer and dancer with the ensemble Las Guitarras in 2005 and will perform with The Guitars of Spain on Feb. 16 at North Central College.

Flamenco films Feb. 3, 9, 15, 23:
Four films will be shown throughout the month in Meiley-Swallow Hall, 31 S. Ellsworth St. The free screenings are:
•    Feb. 3, noon: “Gipsy Kings: Tierra Gitana,” a 2004 documentary about the internationally acclaimed group Gipsy Kings, the first to blend pop music with the Spanish rumba.
•    Feb. 9, 3 p.m.: “Carmen,” a 1983 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. 15, noon: “Gypsy Heart,” a 2000 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).
•    Feb. 23, 3 p.m.: “El Amor Brujo” (Love, The Magician), the third installment of a trilogy of dance films directed by Carlos Saura based on the ballet, featuring music by composer Manuel de Falla.

Flamenco photography exhibit Feb. 14-28:
A photography exhibit, titled “Flamenco, My Love,” by Jelena Sánchez will showcase portraits of a new era of student flamenco enthusiasts using eclectic flamenco expressions. On display Monday through Friday, Feb. 14-28, in the lobby of Kiekhofer Hall, 329 E. School St., the free exhibit is meant to inspire and engage the campus community in a cross-cultural discourse.

With the exception of the Feb. 3 fine and performing arts event by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, 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 Sánchez, North Central adjunct instructor of Spanish, at 630-637-5275.

Founded in 1861, North Central College is celebrating its Sesquicentennial in 2011. These events are some of many ongoing programs at the College to enrich and broaden the cultural and academic outlook for the College and community. For a comprehensive schedule of musical performances, theatrical productions, art exhibits and lectures, visit or call the box office at 630-637-SHOW (7469).

Photo: Flamenco dance class with Spanish instructor Jelena Sánchez.