For the family of dancers of the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía, flamenco has given them passion, strength and a way of life.
Originally from Spain, Flamneco Festival Miami is bringing the singing, dancing, guitars, palms and live music of the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía for the first time to the Adrienne Arsht Center.
“It’s a passionate rhythm, our tradition, and it’s a rhythm that’s mixed with all types of music,” said Ruben Olmo, artistic director and performer of the Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía. “It’s the rhythm of passion, easy to fall in love with.”
But for performer Eduardo Leal, making a career out of flamenco did not come easy. He remembers enjoying the music and the dance as a child, but it wasn’t until his 18th birthday, that he decided to pursue it as a career. He moved to Madrid, went to school and took various bartending jobs.
“It was hard, I had to fight for it on my own,” said Leal, who has an important male role in the performances. “It’s a personal accomplishment, but my next goal is to keep learning.”
In the ballet, Leal is currently shares dances with Patricia Guerreo. Together they stomp their feet, clap and engage in flirtatious dance.
“When I go out to dance, I like to enjoy what I do,” said Guerrero. “When I enjoy what I’m doing, the people notice.”
The Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía has traveled to various cities in the United States and will continue touring with 19 members including dancers, singers, guitar players, and cajon, a box-shaped percussion instrument.
“When we go out to preform, we’ve noticed that the people are hungry for flamenco,” Guerrero said. “You notice it because people take it very passionately and very grateful- it gives us the strength to dance."
As they travel, said Guerrero, they are able to leave behind a piece of the Spanish culture and also pick up cultures from all over the world that they can later incorporate in their art.
They have received gratitude and appreciation from audiences all over the world, and that, they say, is what pays off for all the hard work.
“We are flamenco all day long, it’s not just the dance, it’s a way of life,” said Leal. “ It’s where we come from our roots, our music.”
The Ballet Flamenco de Andalucía will have performances this weekend at the Adrienne Arsht Center.