Monday, September 14, 2015

Going through the paces....

Renowned Flamenco dancer and Instructor Carmen De Torres will be hosting series of workshops, in Winnipeg, for the month of September. These workshops were organized by Helena Infante, who determined that studios of this sort filled a need. Lifelong friends, these two enterprising women hope to solidify future expositions of Iberian cultural arts to Winnipeg.

Carmen De Torres
“Having Carmen host a series of workshops in Winnipeg was just pure timing,” explained Infante.  As it were, she had already scheduled to spend some time with her family, “…So I just decided to organize some time tables and ask who would be interested. And here we are.” De Torres currently lives and earns a living teaching flamenco in Sevilla, Spain.
“(De Torres) is my married name. The reason I chose to retain the name was for artistic reasons. As you know, I had of lot of exposure in the press at that time. So when I moved back to Spain in 1989, it was a logical thing to do.”
Culture takes root in dance. And for families of Spanish ancestry such as Carmen Garrido-De Torres it began with the Pabellón de España. The Pabellón’s Artistic Director Carmen Infante, has formed most of today’s flamenco artists based from Winnipeg.  Infante (Helena) is taking her mother’s lead and hopes to further all artistic forms of art of Iberian expression.
 “Arranging flamenco classes is just the beginning. Carmen is just one example of how Iberian culture can be introduced, performed, and taught in Winnipeg.  I have ideas. For me I would like to make available these kinds of workshops to everyone living in this city. I would be a great way to showcase the Iberian Peninsula.” -Helena Infante
Perceptions about what flamenco is or is not seldom worries De Torres.  In her opinion, flamenco is not proprietary and you do not have to be of Spanish origin to perform flamenco, “Andalucía has been invaded by many cultures throughout the centuries and has infused some of their own ethnic markers within flamenco itself. So we can really say that flamenco belongs to the world.”
  During the Spanish Civil War flamenco foundered. De Torres harbors no illusions, "It became a lesser form under Franco. Flamenco was rendered lifeless, cheap, really it just became some sort of venture without any substance."

She went on to describe Lorca's assassination and subsequent efforts of de Falla to rejuvenate the old teachings in Spain. Carol A. Hess writes in her book Manuel de Falla and Modernism in Spain-1898-1936 the influences and cultural aspects of flamenco during that time.
The cante jondo contest grew out of the conviction--shared by Falla, Lorca, and a host of Spanish intellectuals--that flamenco was being overtaken by urban popular song. The organizers' stated desire to hear the " 'admirable sobriety' of the classic cantaores" shows the extent to which the contest was, in effect, a classicizing gesture, in  this case, an effort to return to the "ancient purity" of "Oriental peoples," that is, to the "East."
Francisco Sánchez Gómez (Paco de Lucia) and fellow compatriot José Monge Cruz, (Camerón de la Isla) were most influential during the 1960’s. Today, there are many variances with respect to flamenco. Pedro Aurelio surmises his thoughts philosophically, "You need a proper foundation in order to incorporate other artistic forms of dance." Palos has different meanings and with respect to flamenco; can be metaphorically said to signify a 'category'. There are more than fifty genre of palos which is defined by a rhythmic pattern referred to as a (compàs). Many students remark about its complexity.

Many contemporary schools have flooded the market in order to satisfy the growing demand-and not all of them successful. In this sense, De Torres is fortunate. Averaging forty students during a nine month course gives her the necessary means to earn a living teaching flamenco, “I also have foreign students from all parts of the world who opt to take day classes. In some cases this would extend to a week or a month of classes, it all varies…and that’s not including organized group sessions.”
    According to Infante, the participants are impressed, “Students often share their impressions and most of them didn't realize the skill level needed to just show up and take Carmen’s classes. What is important is that everyone is enjoying themselves. And so far it seems to be working.”  


Advanced - Tarantos
Intermediate /Beginners - Tangos Festeros, Bulerias
Cante - song forms taught in Advanced and Intermediate levels.

1 course 4.5 hours - $120.00

2 courses 9 hours - $210.00
3 courses 13.5 hours - $275.00
4 courses 18 hours - $315.00
8 courses 36 hours - $520.00

September 18, 19, 20 @ 6:00-9:00
Course 5 Tangos Intermediate level
Course 6 Seguiriyas Advanced level

September 25, 26 (2 hours and fifteen minutes each day because we only have 2 days) 
Course 7 Review of Tangos and Bulerias Intermediate level
Course 8 Tarantos Advanced level 

Drop in class $45.00 per hour.
Observing classes $22.00 per hour.
Private classes available per request.
Children's/Youths Alegrias workshop $20.00 per hour at TBA.

Location - St.Philips Norwood Anglican Church @ 240 Tache Avenue; only for September 4th,5th,6th and September 11th,12th,13th.

Cante classes location TBA

For early registration contact: 
Helena Infante 204-990-6135

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