¡Flamenko Coventry! 2014

¡Flamenko Coventry!- November 3-7 Coventry, UK

A week long event supported by Coventry University’s  CSAD, C-DaRE, Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, and Culturae Mundi. A celebration of Roma culture, from India to Europe, through Flamenco featuring performances, lectures, film screenings, workshops and exhibitions with participation across all subject groups in Coventry University School of Art and Dance. Co-ordinator and curator Andrew Beck and directed by Marcos, who is a  Senior Lecturer in  Broadcast Journalism, a flamenco guitarist, BBC presenter and author of ‘Flamenco Legend, in search of Camarón de la Isla’  and Rosamaria Cisneros. The event included a Gala performance on Monday Nov 3 where students from CSAD performed and shared their work created exclusively for the Festival. Other artists from the West Midlands also  performed  and various other free events took place throughout the week.

The week long event kicked off with performances which included Rosamaria Cisneros performing alongside other local artists and students. The students spent 6 months researching Roma History and Flamenco and created Contemporary-Flamenco dance pieces. This work was showcased in a gala Monday of the Festival. Later in the week, Birmingham based Flamenco dancer Ana Garcia,  who recently founded her production company Flamenco Edition,  also shared a short film which was premiered. Screenings of 5 landmark films which include elements of Flamenco or the Roma community and other classics from the 1930’s Spanish Cinema, were also screened daily. Free guitar and dance Masterclasses were held  Thursday. West Midlands based artist Hannah Greyson-Gaito shared her “Then they came” performance installation. Then_they_came_blurb

The academic portion of the event included research presentations by Dr. Michaelina Jakala, Rosamaria Cisneros, Marcos and other researchers from the Centre for Trust Peace and Social Relations. Topics varied and had a gender, Roma, Flamenco history and vulnerable groups research focus. The Coventry Conversation Series included guest speakers from the Roma and Traveller community and brought their life histories and professional trajectories to the forefront. Flamenco dress maker Adela Olmos was featured in the festival and a documentary on her life and work premiered Wednesday afternoon.  The week ended with the opening of an Exhibition of Flamenco posters including El Gazpacho, dresses, memorabilia and Flamenco iconography curated by the Coventry artist Frieda van de Poll and supported by Koko Zin for KoZin Photography.

What set this Festival apart from others is that it took on a unique approach including historical and educational elements as well as making the event open and free to the public. Art, music, dance, and a strong sense of community and belonging were at the core of the Roma culture. ¡Flamenko Coventry 2014! was created in this spirit and honouring this element of the Roma community.