Albuquerque, N.M., is something of an enigma in the US and the world of flamenco, becoming a hotbed for the evolution of the dance. Here, dancers are given the support and the space to experiment, collaborate, create new works and perform on stages both large and small—the tablao at Hotel Albuquerque for something intimate, and the stages of the National Hispanic Cultural Center for audiences that number in the hundreds. What is inarguable is that here we have one of the most thriving flamenco scenes in the world outside of Spain.
Exemplary of New Mexico's flair with the foot-pounding art of flamenco is Yjastros, the preeminent American flamenco company. Founded in 1999 by Artistic Director Joaquín Encinias, Yjastros comes from the Spanish word hijastros, or stepchildren. It speaks to the company being not entirely of Spain, and not entirely of America, either. In its 32nd season, which will be performed March 30 and 31, at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW), the dancers return to the stage after a year of individual and collective growth. Pieces to be performed include choreographies set by Jesús Carmona, Pedro Córdoba, Daniel Doña and Adrián Santana.
These pieces showcase modern takes and movements integrated with foundational phrases and techniques. Daniel Doña's suite of dances, Pre-Flamenca, for example, explores the dance and music of the early 18th century, while intertwining these stories with the lives of modern dancers. Therein, Doña proposes a dialogue between the tradition and the contemporary iterations of the dance.
Jesús Carmona's piece in Yjastros 32 is titled Catorce Días after the short amount of time he had to develop the work. The piece itself is exemplary of Carmona's explosive style, incorporating everything from subdued seguiriyas to uptempo alegrías.
With generous support from the University of New Mexico, and of course, the National Institute of Flamenco, Yjastros is loudly and clearly enunciating the excellence and modernism of flamenco in New Mexico. Tickets for Yjastros 32, which will offer only 2 performances, are available online at nhccnm.org, and are priced between $20 and $50. For more information about the company, visit the National Institute of Flamenco's website at nifnm.org.