Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque
Why is Albuquerque the flamenco capital of North America? The answer is best provided in a name: Eva Encinias Sandoval.
We're only exaggerating slightly. The flamenco scene in Albuquerque would be an afterthought without Sandoval. With her, it's become an international center for those wishing to study, or just appreciate, this art form. The centerpiece of it all is Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque, which kicks off this week.
“The festival is one of the top three most important flamenco festivals in the world,” says Sandoval. “People nationally and internationally are more aware of it than the locals. Albuquerque is the Sevilla of North America. We have the only university that offers a degree in flamenco, and the festival helps the students really experience it.”
Sandoval's grandfather descended from the original Hispanic settlers of New Mexico. It's from her Spanish grandmother, however, that she received the flamenco tradition.
“She was adopted so we think she was a gypsy, and that is how she was so well-versed in flamenco. She passed her knowledge to her children, my mother passed it on to me, I have passed it on to my children, and now we pass it on to my grandchildren. I wanted to see where I could take it and incorporate it into our culture. I realized I had a responsibility to share this art form with our community.”
She's certainly lived up to that responsibility. The festival celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, bigger, better, more varied than ever. For the next week and a half, you'll have an opportunity to see some of the best flamenco dancers and musicians in the world, as well as learn some of the nuances of the form—all right here, in your own backyard.