In its 2015 festive edition, the Dutch Flamenco Biennial brought the international contemporary flamenco top together in the Netherlands between 16 January and 3 February 2015. For nineteen days great stars and talented young makers were performing in theatres and concerts halls in five cities. This fifth edition – the most comprehensive so far - was enthusiastically received by press and audiences alike and drew a record number of visitors: well over 17,000, with a hall occupancy of 81%, spread over Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Utrecht, The Hague and Eindhoven.
For the fifth time the Biennial showed the ‘State of the Flamenco Arts’, from cutting-edge contemporary to traditional. A programme with surprising musical and choreographic alliances of rebellious makers, who were stretching the boundaries of flamenco in several crossovers with other genres such as jazz, Baroque music, Indian and classical music, and contemporary dance. For example in closing weekend of the festival Torobaka in which the top choreographer and dancer Akram Kahn and the flamenco innovator Israel Galván explored the relationship between kathak and flamenco in an international coproduction with Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam. Two photo exhibitions were organised especially for the anniversary edition: in collaboration with Huis Marseille the exhibition Dancing Light/Let it move you... and the exhibition Patrimonio con Duende by the Spanish photographer Chema Conesa in the Instituto Cervantes in Utrecht.
Flamenco Crossroads & living traditions - highlights
Apart from Galván there were two other icons of the flamenco traditions who showed their latest dance performances with great success: Belén Maya opened the festival in a sold-out Rotterdamse Schouwburg and Andrés Marín joined the French-Algerian hip-hop dancer Kader Attou and the Divana Ensemble from Rajasthan in Yatra. The world premiere of this piece in the Lucent Danstheater in The Hague was an exhilarating meeting of different styles of music. Beside these pioneers the festival also included a new crop of young dance makers such as Rosario Toledo and Ana Morales, who showed their ‘arte’ with great originality; Morales in Bagatelles (festival creation 2015) to the overwhelming soundscape of sound artist Enrique Tomás.
Another production combined the Spanish band Ultra High Flamenco with three major Dutch jazz musicians: Oene van Geel, Maarten Ornstein and Tony Roe in a contemporary jazz-flamenco dialogue that had sparks flying. This ad-hoc septet is going to tour the international stages, for instance at the famous Festival Suma Flamenca in Madrid.
The theme Crossroads was also apparent in the creation Qasida from 2011, which we repeated for our anniversary: a dialogue between Iranian and flamenco singing. They are planning to tour the United States and Canada next year (2016). It was also apparent in the meetings between artists in different genres, such as the Artist in Residence of this edition, the French-Catalan Renaud García-Fons who enchanted us with poetic creations on his double bass alongside the Turkish fiddle/kemanche player Derya Türkan. In the Bimhuis, a new generation of guitarists - José Quevedo and Dani de Morón - paid homage to the grand master Paco de Lucía, sheer magic for the performers as well as the audience.
Unadulterated tradition anno 2015 was provided by the gypsy dancer Farruquito, sung to by the great cantaor El Pele, who brought the audience in the crammed Koninklijk Theater Carré to ecstasy. In the Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ the singer Marina Heredia showed the Dutch audience, in a moving dialogue with her father Jaime El Parrón, how the art of flamenco is handed down the generations.
Dutch flamenco was amply and enthusiastically represented by Peter Kalb and Bernard van Rossum’s BVR Flamenco Big Band, to mention a few. The Flamen>GO! programme in which Dutch amateurs and professionals performed, was again a great success. The various workshops, master classes, lectures, films and documentaries were well attended.
The next edition of the Flamenco Biennial Netherlands will take place in early 2017. In 2015/2016 the fourth series of Intermezzo Flamenco concerts is organised. For further information please consult this website under Intermezzo Flamenco.