The Warrior in the Dancer
Encinias is Yjastros' art director and one of the choreographers for their upcoming performance, XXIXth Season. Yjastros is the only dedicated touring flamenco repertory company in America. It boasts some of the greatest talents in the country and has become inextricably linked with Albuquerque's emergence as a flamenco capital. Encinias is a world-class flamenco dancer, and though I am at least a head taller than him, I get the feeling he could take me down without blinking and then dance on my head with graceful ease.
Next to [Joaquin Encinias], I feel like I have two left feet shoved into one right shoe. I trip over my laces at least once and bump into a doorjamb hard enough to dislocate my ego.
Encinias describes it as a way of life. “Flamenco is a philosophy of dedication. And pure emotion. It seems like just this crazy spurt of energy, but really it is a lot of very focused energy. You need to have that laser focus, and that's true in anything. These are people who are passionate about what they do, and they fuse everything they have into it, and you can feel that energy. Flamenco demands that, and it pulls it out of people.”
Next to him, I feel like I have two left feet shoved into one right shoe. I trip over my laces at least once and bump into a doorjamb hard enough to dislocate my ego. Encinias is nice enough to pretend he doesn't notice.
The Institute's director of philanthropy Marisa Magallanez characterizes Yjastros as “a living archive,” housing a number of classic and modern pieces that are constantly revisited and passed on to new members. She also calls it a “canvas” where choreographers can create new works that will become part of the cultural landscape.
Yjastros will be lending their canvas to two new pieces at this weekend's XXIXth Season: “Jaleos 5J” by Pedro Córdoba and “De Azúcar Blanca y Almendras” by Manuela Rios, which will debut next to a number of the company's existing repertory. Performances of XXIXth Season will take place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) starting Thursday at 7pm, and continuing Friday and Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are on sale now at the NHCC box office and at nhccnm.org. For more info visit nifnm.org.