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 V.22 No.10 | March 7 - 13, 2013 

Arts Feature

Flamenco Hip-Hopera:

Theater of the Fates

It began at an art party when two friends were overtaken by the music, the movements and the camaraderie surrounding them. Like a hippie commune-induced acid trip, they started projecting their minds’ reaction to what was going on around them on a piece of paper and by playing music.

Camelia R. Finley started writing the first 10 pages of what would be her first play, and Jacob Cornelius started writing and producing music for the project. With some determination and a little boundary-pushing, they produced their first collaborative effort: a flamenco hip-hopera.

While the scenario may seem simple enough, to these two creators it was fate, or perhaps just the universe working to get them to produce something that was unheard of.

They shopped the play around to a few folks, but ultimately, it was the National Hispanic Cultural Center that took the bait.

“It was totally random,” Finley says. “I never thought I was going to write plays.” Regardless of her plans, the play, titled She Dances With Fate, is a spiritual blend Finley's and Cornelius' passions. “Literature and philosophy is on my alley. Music and hip-hop is on Jacob's. As we kept going, the universe was just giving us more and more.”

Part Pagan-inspired mysticism, part surrealism and part traditional-meets-urban, the play focuses on Amara (played by Anna DeSaulniers), a heroic, mythological being who also represents the element of fire. Amara is forced to endure several realms and spiritual planes (such as the Void, the Three Arches of trial and the Other Side) while using flamenco as her source of power and inspiration.

Part of what makes the play so endearing is Finley's passion and spiritual reliance in regards to whether or not the play should happen. When asked if she's scared about how the play will be perceived, she basically balks at the question and reiterates that it's up to the universe to determine how her work is taken.

“It's still not there,” said Finley. “It won't be there until we get on stage, but I've been consulting my tarot cards every week, and I get the same response, which is that I'm supposed to be doing this.”

Like his female counterpart, Jacob Cornelius—music supervisor, producer and actor in She Dances With Fate—feels that there is a certain destiny and predetermined will that drives the play forward, making any apprehension a part of the process and helping keep them aware of its importance. This also prompted them to start their own company, Two Pentacles, that focuses on producing plays and films.

“I feel it's all been a struggle,” said Cornelius. “It was sort of created out of nothing, and Cammy and I have been struggling to keep it alive. That's sort of the whole point of the play; it's wanting a love you know is going to kill you, but going for it anyways. It's about overcoming struggle.

“It could only be a failure if we didn't do it.”

The play runs March 8, 9 and 10 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center Journal Theatre, and the Friday night showing is followed with an after-party in the lobby of the NHCC. Saturday night, the crew will host an after-party at Sister (407 Central NW).

She Dances With Fate

Friday and Saturday (March 8 and 9) at 7:30 p.m. (Pre-cocktail party in lobby at 7:00 p.m.)
Sunday (March 10) at 2:00 p.m.

National Hispanic Cultural Center
Journal Theatre
1701 4th St. SW
(505) 724-4771
$12-$22
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