The 21st ‘Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla’ will feature over sixty shows
Eva Yerbabuena will open the festival with a brand-new production at the Maestranza Theater. The themes and strategic outlines were presented in Madrid.
The 21st Bienal de Flamenco has been presented in the Dance Hall of the Teatro Real de Madrid by Antonio Muñoz, delegate for Tourism, Culture and Human Habitat of Seville’s City Council, and Antonio Zoido, director of the Bienal de Flamenco.
In the context of Fitur (Feria Internacional de Turismo) and as part of the agenda prepared by Seville City Council for this fair, with the slogan Sevilla, ciudad de grandes eventos, the strategic outlines, the themes and the venues hosting the sixty-plus shows to be performed between September 4th and October 4th as part of the Bienal were revealed. This edition will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the festival, which was first held in 1980. Ever since, the Bienal has been held every two years, becoming the gold standard for all flamenco festivals around the world.
In the words of the Bienal’s director, “the importance of Seville in the world of flamenco makes necessary to continue the task of specializing the role of each venue, as it happens in cities like Vienna, Milan or Paris, which have a long tradition of hosting great musical and stage productions”. Therefore, the Maestranza Theater will host large-format productions, the Central Theater will continue to be used primarily for the productions of baile which have converted this venue in a world reference in contemporary flamenco, and the Lope de Vega Theater will host the performances of cante. The Alcázar gardens have been reserved for performances of flamenco guitar. Other venues such as Factoría Cultural and Hotel Triana have been allocated for productions featuring interaction between the artists and their public, while the Alameda Theater will host productions where flamenco will be performed in a counter-cultural context. Finally, the San Luis Church, a prized heritage venue, has been reserved for unique productions of high artistic value. Besides, this new edition will feature new venues such as the one provided by Fundación Cruzcampo with its new cultural equipment, Fundación Cajasol, located in the downtown block in the cultural center of the city, and the pavilion of Fundación Tres Culturas at Cartuja Island.
Opening of the Bienal
Several of the shows will be world premieres by leading artists of cante, toque and baile. That’s the case of the production which will open the Bienal: Eva Yerbabuena’s Al igual que tú. It will be performed on September 5th at the Maestranza Theater. This production focuses on the intimate encounter with others and the development of human relations in an increasingly globalized world. Through a frenetic rhythm alternating with movement, text, music, silence and deep thought, the choreographer meets the essences of life, awaiting to be experienced under the common denominator of a unique and universal language such as flamenco.
This bailora states that her production “shows us that, as time goes by, if anything deserves to be danced, it’s sorrow, because time makes us stronger and heals us, forcing us to face decisions as we create our internal battles”.
Flashmob, “pregón” and exhibits
In addition to this premiere, the Bienal will be on the streets the day before, September 4th, with a dance flashmob which will take place in Seville at the same time as in other cities all over the world, to the sound of sevillanas specifically commissioned to the guitarist Rafael Riqueni, danced and tutored by Antonio Canales and María Moreno in María Luisa Park . It would be a popular and free party for all the people of Seville and its visitors who wish to join the bailaores celebrating the start of the Bienal de Flamenco.
Manuel Herrera, driving force in the creation of the Bienal de Flamenco and director of the 1998, 2000 and 2002 Bienal festivals, will recite the opening pregón, as it was done 40 years ago by Luis Rosales in the first edition. Most shows — with the exception of outdoor productions requiring darkness to be performed — will take place at prime time, so that traditional flamenco venues such as tablaos and peñas will be able to feature late-night performances as part of the parallel program of La Bienal enciende Sevilla (“The Bienal Lights Up Seville”). This program, featured for the first time in the last edition, provides a varied and unique selection of shows and activities all over the city, promoted by both public and private entities, such as heritage houses which have now been incorporated as new flamenco venues.
The month-long Bienal will also feature exhibits such as Historia de la Bienal in Seville’s Museum of Art and Folklore (Museo de Artes y Costumbres Populares). The 130th anniversary of Silverio Franconetti’s death will be celebrated at Casa de la Provincia and an exhibit featuring the 60th anniversary of the iconic Lina flamenco fashion house will be held at Casino de la Exposición.
The Bienal de Flamenco will soon present its full program. All information will be available in the www.labienal.com website, where tickets for the shows could also be purchased.
Top image: Bienal de Sevilla