Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez to Perform AL SON SON - FLAMENCO at TriBeCa PAC, 5/28
Sonia Olla (dancer/choreographer) and Ismael de la Rosa Fernández (singer) will topline "Al Son Son - Flamenco," a 90-minute spectacle of authentic Andalusian music and dance to be presented at Tribeca Performing Arts Center May 28. The one-night concert will highlight the traditions of La Familia Fernández, one of Flamenco's most distinguished families. Olla and Fernández, while famous in Spain, are rarely seen in concert in the U.S., but they appeared in March at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and more recently in a sold-out NYC Tablao at the Roger Smith Hotel that produced cries for more. The May 28 concert is an opportunity for them to share their distinctive music and techniques with a wider audience. Seating is limited to 260 seats. Tickets are $20 general admission and can be purchased at 212.220.1460 and www.tribecapac.org.
Appearing with Olla and Fernández will be guitarists Pedro Cortés (http://www.flamenco-classes.com/pedro.asp), playing under the musical direction of Mr. Fernández, and a gran coro comprised of thirty members of Sonia Olla Flamenco Studio, who engaged in a six-month developmental workshop in preparation for the event. Some of the dancing chorus are older dancers with dance injuries and recent surgeries, for whom Ms. Olla's tutelage has been therapeutic.
The title of the concert is difficult to translate into English, but it roughly means "Take us to the rhythms (grooves/swings) of the heart of Flamenco." (Al is a combination word of A (to) and El (the) and Son is an abbreviation for soniquete or sonsonete, signifying rhythms and sounds.) Choreography and direction are by Sonia Olla and all musical direction is by Ismael Fernández.
ABOUT THE PERFORMERS
Sonia Olla was born and raised in Barcelona and earned a degree in Spanish Dance and Flamenco at the esteemed Instituto de Teatro y Danza of Barcelona. She then completed her training with the legendary Merce Esmeralda, Manolo Marín, Mariquilla and Antonio Canales. In 1999, she made her professional debut with the illustrious Rafael Amargo as part of his world-renowned company in the critically acclaimed production "Amargo." Since then, she has toured as company member and soloist, sharing the stage with flamenco greats such as Antonio Canales, Domingo Ortega, Aída Gómez, Eva la Yerbabuena, Rafaela Carrasco, María Pagés, La Farruca, Alejandro Granados and the famed Nuevo Ballet Español.
In 2011, she premiered "Entretiempo" with celebrated flamenco singer Ismael de la Rosa Fernández at the prestigious Teatro Lara of Madrid, her first production acting as director, choreographer, and principal dancer. After moving to New York, she and Ismael Fernández collaborated to create "Tiempo Al Aire," a unique blend of traditional flamenco with elements of jazz and percussion, which sold out Joe's Pub as part of the world-famous New York Flamenco Festival in 2014. She has performed at The Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Le Poison Rouge, Instituto Cervantes, Birdland, and is featured regularly at Spain's most notable tablaos. She has been featured in The Washington Post as well as numerous Spanish newspapers, including ABC, El Pais, El Periódico de Aragón, El Diario, Qué, La Voz, and Diario de Jerez. She has also made television and radio appearances on Tele 5, the "Victorio Duque Show" (Cadena Cope), the "Eva Cordón Show" (Radio Nacional de España), the "Goyo Gonzalez Show" (Punto Radio), the "Ana Cámara Show" (Onda Cero), the "Asunción Borderas Show" (Cadena Ser), and the Internet show "Flamenco TV."
Ismael Fernández was born in Seville, Spain, of Gypsy descent and grew up performing in flamenco festivals throughout the world with his internationally renowned family, La Familia Fernández. His professional career began in Spain's premier flamenco tablaos such as "El Cordobes" (Barcelona), "La Carboneria" (Seville) and the famous flamenco cuevas, or caves, of Granada. In 2004, he won the National Contest of Cordoba, singing bulerías for famed dancer Soraya Clavijo, and that same year he was a finalist in the Festival De Cante De La Union. He regularly participates with his family in the celebrated Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla.
Throughout his expansive career, Fernández has worked with flamenco legends such as Antonio Canales, Farruquito, Marina Heredia, El Torombo and Leonor Moro, to name a few. For several years, he has been a featured company member of internationally acclaimed dancer Maria Pages, with whom he has appeared at The Joyce Theater (New York, 2004), Sadler Wells Theatre (London, 2004), Esplanade Theatre (Singapore, 2004), Orchard Hall and Bunka Mura (Japan, 2001, 2002, 2006), Teatro La Zarzuela (Madrid, 2007), Teatro Real (Madrid, 2008), and the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona, 2008). He co-produced and co-directed "Entretiempo" and "Tiempo al Aire" with dancer Sonia Olla, sharing the stage with artists David Paniagua and Ruben Lebaniegos. In 2011, "Entretiempo" was televised on Flamenco TV and in 2014, "Tiempo al Aire" sold out Joe's Pub as part of the world-famous New York Flamenco Festival. Later that year, "Tiempo al Aire" debuted at Lincoln Center Outdoors.
Hailed by The Washington Post as a "most charismatic performer" and a "connection to the Gyspy source," he has made several radio and television appearances, most notably Tele5, Radio Nacional de España, Cadena Ser, Punto Radio, and Onda Cero.
The duo are prized as teachers. Ordinarily, Flamenco dances are taught by simply having students copy their teachers' steps. Unique among master teachers, Olla and Fernández approach the art from the music in, aiming to transmit a complete understanding of the Cante Flamenco (songs and singing of Flamenco), an art which derives from the lyrics and poetry of the people from Andalusia in the south of Spain. Historically over the decades, Flamenco "dance" has become popular among non-spanish speaking audiences around the world, but the singers' authentic lyrics and the poetry are the soul of the art, expressing the suffering and joy of the people. In no other Flamenco studio does a singer come to classes and sing while students are learning to dance. Sonia Olla then approaches the dance by having her students understand where and how to move to the music. For those who do not understand Andalusian Spanish, she stresses listening and responding to the tones and inflection of the singer and the musical phrases.
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