World-class flamenco group graces the Palm stage Friday, May 4

Romance, passion, majesty and timeless beauty fills the spring air  when the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company comes to Telluride’s Palm Theatre Friday, May 4. Award-winning flamenco dancer and choreographer Juan Siddi is joined by an array of sensual and powerful dancers, singers, and musicians from Spain, France, and the United States. The company presents a mixed repertory program, including the stunning work, “Encuentro,” nominated for an Isadora Duncan Award in 2009.

Honored recipient of Santa Fe’s 2011 Mayor’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts, Artistic Director Juan Siddi and his Flamenco Theatre Company have made their mark in the world of flamenco with their unique, world-class artistry. The company has appeared throughout the Middle East, Europe and the United States, and with their summer season, in Santa Fe, NM.

Artistic director, choreographer and principal dancer Juan Siddi is joined by a cast of some of Spain’s most authentic artists of the tradition. Siddi’s colorful array of female dancers interprets his movements to traditional and original musical scores created by the talented cast of musicians.

Michael Wade Simpson of the Pasatiempo described Siddi’s work “…a refined, intellectual… contemporary take on flamenco.”

The development of flamenco can be traced all the way back to the Middle Ages and the meeting and mixing of several musical traditions in Andalucia Spain, where African and Arabic music developed along with the Spanish guitar and its rhythms. During the Spanish Inquisition, groups of persecuted peoples – Romani, Greeks, Visigoths, Moors, and Jews – married their songs and dances of exile, despair, suffering, and also hope and celebration, with the ecstatic religious sounds of Andalucian music to produce flamenco, whose essence is duende.

The deep emotion duende expresses is all about the ineffable mystery of life in art, song, music and dance. The Spanish poet and playwright Federico Garcia Lorca once said about duende:

“The greatest artists of Spain, whether Gypsy or flamenco, whether they sing, dance, or play, know that no emotion is possible unless the duende comes. All arts are capable of duende, but where it finds greatest range, naturally, is in music, dance, and spoken poetry, for these arts require a living body to interpret, being forms that are born, die, and open their contours against an exact presence….It is truly deep, deeper than all the wells and seas in the world, much deeper than the present heart that creates it or the voice that sings it, because it is almost infinite.”

In November 2010, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) deemed flamenco a cultural treasure on its Intangible Heritage List.Today, Juan Siddi is at the helm, creating and maintaining a strong presence for flamenco in the United States. Starting his professional career at the age of 18, Siddi toured for many years with reputable companies throughout Europe before being invited to come to the United States to work with American flamenco icon Maria Benitez and her Teatro Flamenco. In 2008, six years after Siddi began working with Benitez’ company as a dancer, co-choreographer and teacher, Benitez named Siddi as her successor for the popular summer-long seasons in Santa Fe.

Justin Nadir, executive producer and managing director for the company, says, “We are very excited to share the unique talent and artistry of the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company throughout the United States. A greater awareness of flamenco’s richness has been recognized over the past several years, and Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company brings audiences an unparalleled and world-class experience.”

Tickets for the May 4 performance at the Palm, 7 p.m., now on sale at www.telluridepalm.com or by calling the Palm’s box office at 369.5669.

Advance tickets for the reserved seating show are $20 for students and children and $28 for adults. Ticket prices just prior to the show increase by $5 at the door.

For a preview, watch the following video:

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