Singapore – Enjoy a night of guilt-free passion with dancers and musicians who perform the very expressive and emotional music and dance art form of flamenco at the Singapore Flamenco Festival 2022 Vivir!!!.
Presented by Singapore’s Flamenco Sin Fronteras (FSF) dance company, this year’s festival will feature performances by Flamenco artistes from Spain, including dancer Cristina Aguilera, guitarist David Caro, vocalist Miguel Lavi and flautist Rodrigo Parejo.
The artistic director for the festival is Singapore-based Antonio Vargas, who says that “vivir” (Spanish for “to live”) was the driving force behind this year’s events. The last two years have been “dehumanising”, says the dancer and cheoreographer, who is also the artistic director of FSF.
“One of the aims of the festival is to connect audiences back to live atmospheres, which enables us to connect with our inner emotions and feelings as well as empathise and connect with others,” he says.
Duende, the first performance of the festival, will certainly be rousing. A collaboration between local dancers, musicians and guest performers, with additional input from Vargas, Duende is described as a performance that encompasses sorrow and joy.
One of the local flamenco dancers is Tilly Wong. A founding member of FSF and a principal dancer for the company, Wong says: “Having (the artistes from Spain) at the festival definitely escalates the quality of this event. Local artistes will get to work with the Spanish professionals. And as a dancer, professional musicians will be playing live for my performance. That is truly fantastic and rare.”
A rising star in the international flamenco scene, Aguilera will dance in Tarab, a performance which includes song, dance and guitar accompaniment. Tarab is an Arabic word which translates as enchantment or ecstasy, a hint at what the audience can expect.
Aguilera adds: “I hope you enter the state of tarab that I myself try to provoke and that you enjoy each of the moments of the show to the fullest.”
The third night of the festival will feature a more eclectic work called Amalgama. It features Kailin Yong, who is also music director for this performance, on violin. Amalgama includes original compositions with a mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian ethnic music as well as modern jazz and Latin influences, all brought together by flamenco.
Yong says: “Amalgama seeks to unpack the incredibly rich cultural offerings of the Romany people through the lenses of flamenco, Latin American and the potpourri of the colourful Straits culture.”
Some will remember Vargas from Australian film-maker Baz Luhrmann’s 1992 movie Strictly Ballroom, where he performed a hybrid flamenco paso double with aplomb. For tips on performing flamenco, enthusiasts can also attend a seminar and workshop conducted by Vargas and Aguilera.
On the popularity of flamenco in Singapore, Vargas says: “The flamenco scene has definitely grown despite it still being a niche art form. We have promoted flamenco to the public in productions, school educational programmes and community work.”
Earlier this month, FSF gave a free performance at the Esplanade’s Crossing Borders programme.
Artistic direction: Antonio Vargas
Dancers: Flamenco Sin Fronteras
Overseas musicians: David Caro, Miguel Lavi, Rodrigo Parejo
Local musicians: Carlos Sendros, Lalit Kumar, Kailin Yong, Junes Ahidar
Dancer: Cristina Aguilera
Musicians: David Caro, Miguel Lavi
Music director: Kailin Yong
Singapore-based musicians: Kailin Yong, Leah Lo, Indra Chen, Gildon Choo, Carlos Sendros, Mario Lopez Lara, Alina Ramirez, Rick Smith, Raghavendran Rajasekaran, Lalit Kumar Ganesh, Riduan Zalani, Govin Tan, Junes AhidarI
Singapore Flamenco Festival 2022 Vivir!!!
Where: Esplanade Recital Studio and Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive
When: Duende, Wednesday, 8pm; Tarab, Thursday, 8pm; Amalgama, Sunday, 6.30pm
Admission: Tickets from $28 to $78 at Sistic https://str.sg/wKbF
Flamenco Seminar – Public Workshop
Where: Flamenco Sin Fronteras, 1 Lorong 24A Geylang
When: Saturday, 12.30pm to 2pm
Admission: Tickets at firstname.lastname@example.org