Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

World Music Institute to Welcome Back Flamenco Dance Festival This March

World Music Institute has long been heralded for its spectacular flamenco presentations that showcase the form's essence and authenticity. After a three-year hiatus, flamenco makes a triumphant return to World Music Institute with Festival Ay! Más Flamenco -- four wide-ranging evenings of world-class dance featuring the avant-garde flair of Quebec's La Otra Orilla, the purity of Spain's eminent solo traditionalists La Lupi and Joaquin Grilo, and the exciting and renowned dancer-singer duo of wife-and-husband Sonia Olla and Ismael Fernández -- from March 3-6, 2016.

Symphony Space hosts the first three nights, and the final performance is held at La Nacional - Spanish Benevolent Society, which has supported the cultural enrichment of the Spanish-American and Spanish-speaking community in New York City since 1868.

From World Music Institute's Artistic Director Par Neiburger: "World Music Institute has a very long and deep history of bringing flamenco to New York. To honor this tradition, for our special 30th Anniversary concert season, we are presenting a Flamenco Festival that represents the finest in quality that the art form has to offer. Festival Ay! Más Flamenco brings many of the greatest true, authentic performers from Spain while also showcasing artists that bridge the art form into more contemporary realms. While flamenco has grown over the last several decades to become much more well known in New York since we started to bring the art form here, this festival will spotlight a much-needed authenticity from some of Spain's finest performers who rarely perform in the U.S. -- as well as show audiences the new and bold directions that flamenco is taking. In the spirit of the title of the festival, it demonstrates that there is always more to discover about flamenco."

Tickets: Symphony Space Events $45-$65; VIP Closing Event Tickets $95. Available at


Montréal's rebellious & subversive iconoclasts
Thursday, March 3, 8:00 p.m.
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
Tickets $45-$65

La Otra Orilla are recognizable for their unique and radical approach to flamenco. Based on the collaboration between dancer and choreographer Myriam Allard and singer-director Hedi Graja, the company embodies a cutting-edge interpretation of the timeless and universal appeal of flamenco. The artistic directors have created a hybrid flamenco language that is both modern and poetic, exploring the traditions of this art form while staying firmly rooted in the present. For WMI's Festival Ay! Más Flamenco, they present their reinvented flamenco in a new piece, Moi&lesAutres, a spirited exploration of the complex art of connection. Live music will be performed by singer Hedi Graja, percussionist Miguel Medina, and the acclaimed flamenco guitarist Caroline Planté. Lighting design is by Étienne Boucher. This event is co-curated by Rajika Puri.

Sensitive to the world of music and dance from very early childhood, Myriam Allard's life changed when she discovered flamenco. Aged 21, she left her home in Quebec to travel to Spain, where she lived for six years. After intensive training she began dancing professionally at the traditional tablaos flamencos in Spain, Japan, France and Germany. Drawing strength from her rigorous European training and extensive professional experience, Allard's dance breaks free of the traditional esthetic boundaries to develop an idiom that combines the instinctive and the impulsive with great sensitivity and refinement. She now lives in Montréal, where she founded La Otra Orilla in 2006 with singer and director Hedi Graja. Within this company she has developed a unique choreographic expression and produced seven different shows that have toured Canada, the U.S., South America and Great Britain.

Hedi Graja has roots on both shores of the Mediterranean. Trained in the theater in Paris, he studied voice at the Conservatoire National Régional in Toulouse, which was also where he made his life-changing discovery of flamenco. His desire to know more about the art form took him to Seville, where he came to recognize the expressive potential of flamenco song, or cante. After four years in Andalusia, he completed his studies in Lettres et Arts in Paris, where he also continued his training in flamenco singing and worked as an actor with the theater company Le Théâtre du Voyageur. In 2005, Hedi Graja moved to Montréal, where he founded the La Otra Orilla company with dancer Myriam Allard.


A performance dedicated to Grilo's friend and teacher Paco De Lucia
Friday, March 4, 8:00 p.m.
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
Tickets $45-$65

Joaquín Grilo dedicates this intensely personal evening to his teacher, colleague, and friend, guitarist Paco de Lucía, with whom he toured for many years and who left an indelible impact on his artistic career. Joined by guitarist Juan Requena and vocalist Jose Valencia, this joyful production is Grilo's vision of modern flamenco, born out of his deep respect for the art form, which weaves together complex music and dance to celebrate the spontaneous nature of flamenco. Guitar, vocals, palmas, and dance center on the soleá and bulerías, set against a backdrop comprised of the simplest elements in order to highlight the dance. The music is inspired by the rhythms of the styles of flamenco being performed, uniting the production in a current of energy and emotion. This show will have live accompaniment by two of Spain's top flamenco musicians: Jose Valencia (vocals) and Juan Requena (guitar).

Joaquín Grilo, dancer and choreographer, was born in the cradle of flamenco, Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, in 1968. Joaquín is a powerful dancer who is considered one of today's leading male proponents of the flamenco genre. While his singular and personal style has made him an innovator in flamenco, he is firmly connected to and grounded in traditional flamenco. Joaquín's unbounded energy, unparalleled skill, and charm have turned his dance style into a personal trademark. Joaquín started his flamenco training at the age of three. At the age of thirteen, as a member of a flamenco company in Jerez and already showing great promise, he toured extensively, becoming a principal dancer three years later. In 1993, he appeared in the critically acclaimed film "Flamenco" by renowned Spanish director Carlos Saura. Joaquín has won numerous major Spanish flamenco awards, and in 1997 a nationwide poll selected him as Spain's best flamenco dancer. After performing as a principal dancer with several flamenco companies and exhibiting an uncanny mastery, he formed his own company. Joaquín has collaborated with leading flamenco artists such as guitarist Vicente Amigo, pianist Dorantes and dancers Pastora Galván and Joaquín Cortes. His most notable collaboration was with the great Paco de Lucia, touring as lead dancer for seven years.


A new flamenco legend with flare for the dramatic and appreciation of tradition
Saturday, March 5, 8:00 p.m.
Symphony Space
2537 Broadway at 95th Street
Tickets $45-$65

La Lupi has chosen to begin a new path by collecting old dance traditions and personalizing them with her fresh and unique style. With a production titled RETOrno (Return), La Lupi looks to the dances of long ago-those danced in patios and emulated in Tangos of today-in search of the concept "less is more" and remembering the masters of yesteryear. RETOrno is a review of the most rooted folklore and the most traditional and skilled movement of long-trained dresses and embroidered shawls-an homage to the dance performed with the Cordovan hat, without forgetting to include a nod to flamenco's present incarnation. La Lupi is accompanied by Curro de Maria (guitar); Gabriel de la Tomasa (vocals); and Alfredo Tejada (vocals).

From her early days, Susana Lupiáñez Pinto, "La Lupi," was already dedicated to flamenco training and performance. She honed her skills at the Conservatorio Superior de Málaga, where she alternated her studies with performances at flamenco tablaos. Years later, it was on one of these stages that guitarist Juan Maya "Marote" saw talent in her dance and took her to work in Madrid. In the capital, she worked for three years in Marote's dance and contemporary flamenco company, going on tour throughout Spain. At the same time, she extended her studies with maestros of the likes of Cristóbal Reyes, Paco Romero, Carmela Greco, La Tati, Rafael de Carmen, and Juan de Juan.

In 1999, La Lupi founded her own Flamenco Company, which she directs and choreographs, together with guitarist Curro de María. With shows like "Lo que Lellega al Alma" and "7 Historias Hacen una Vida," she has performed for years at theaters all over the world and international festivals such as those of Düsseldorf, Mont de Marsan, Chicago, Madrid's Suma Flamenca and CIMA Festival in Monte Argentario. La Lupi is the recipient of the 2007 First Prize for Seguiriyas and the Second Prize for Alegrías awarded by the La Perla de Cádiz National Flamenco Competition.

VIP Closing Event:

Internationally acclaimed wife-&-husband duo Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernández
Sunday, March 6, 8:00 p.m.
La Nacional - Spanish Benevolent Society
239 West 14th Street, NYC (between 7th & 8th Ave.)
VIP Tickets $95

The husband-and-wife team of flamenco dancer Sonia Olla-who was tapped this past fall by Madonna to choreograph the legend's worldwide 2015-2016 "Rebel Heart Tour"-and singer Ismael Fernández, are each from Spain (Sonia from Barcelona, Ismael from Seville and of Gypsy descent), now relocated to New York. They currently reside here, performing and also teaching authentic flamenco and cante classes. After moving to New York, Sonia and Ismael 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. Later this month (February 26/27), the duo will perform at Instituto Cervantes of Chicago Festival with Tablao Sevilla.

Hailed by The New York Times as "a furnace of earthy sensuality," Sonia Olla has toured as company member and soloist with flamenco greats such as Antonio Canales, Eva la Yerbabuena, Rafaela Carrasco, María Pagés, La Farruca, Alejandro Granados and the famed Nuevo Ballet Español. She has performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Le Poison Rouge, Instituto Cervantes, Birdland, and is a regular in Spain's most notable tablaos.

Olla has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker, as well as Spanish newspapers: ABC, El Pais, El Periódico de Aragón, El Diario, Qué and La Voz. Sonia has also made television and radio appearances on "NYC Arts" (PBS), Tele 5, the "Victorio Duque Show," the "Eva Cordón Show" (Radio Nacional de España), the "Goyo Gonzalez Show," the "Ana Cámara Show," the "Asunción Borderas Show," as well as the renowned "Flamenco TV."

Born in Seville, Spain, Ismael de la Rosa Fernández grew up performing in flamenco festivals throughout the world with his internationally renowned family, "La Familia Fernández." His career began in Spain's premier flamenco tablaos such as "El Cordobes" (Barcelona), "El Arenal" (Seville) and the famous flamenco cuevas of Granada. In 2004, Ismael won the National Contest of Cordoba, singing for the dancer Soraya Clavijo and was a finalist in the Festival De Cante De La Union. Ismael joins his family regularly to perform in the celebrated Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla. Throughout his career, Ismael has worked with flamenco legends such as Antonio Canales, Marina Heredia, La Farruca, Alejandro Granados, Farruquito, Juan Ramirez, El Vareta, El Bobote, Aurora Vargas, among others. Hailed by The Washington Post as the "most charismatic performer" and a "connection to the Gypsy source," Ismael has made several radio and television appearances, most notably "NYC Arts" (PBS), Tele5, Radio Nacional de España, Cadena Ser, Punto Radio, and Onda Cero.

For several years, Ismael has been a featured company member of internationally acclaimed dancer Maria Pages, performing at The Joyce Theater (New York), Sadler Wells Theatre (London), Esplanade Theatre (Singapore), Orchard Hall and Bunka Mura (Japan), Teatro La Zarzuela (Madrid), Teatro Real (Madrid), and the Gran Teatre del Liceu (Barcelona). Ismael co-produced and co-directed productions "Entretiempo" and "Tiempo al Aire" with dancer Sonia Olla. In 2011, "Entretiempo" was televised on the popular show "Flamenco TV," and in 2014, "Tiempo al Aire" sold out Joe's Pub as part of the New York Flamenco Festival and was featured at Lincoln Center Outdoors. In 2015, Ismael Fernández and Sonia Olla made their debut at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as part of the Iberian Suite concert and lecture series, which also featured flamenco greats María Pagés and Sara Baras. Most recently, Ismael worked with pop-icon Madonna in preparation for her upcoming "Rebel Heart Tour" (2015-2016), and samples of Ismael's voice are featured during "La Isla Bonita."

Related Stories
Video: Students Are Learning About the Business of Broadway with the Broadway League Photo
Students from across New York City are taking part in The Broadway League’s 11th annual High School Broadway Shadowing Program- a unique behind-the-scenes theatre experience, learning about non-performance careers in commercial theatre. Watch as we catch up with two of them, plus Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin to hear all about it!

Photos: Jeremy Jordan & More Broadway Stars at SPINNING GOLD Premiere Photo
Last night, Spinning Gold, the new film starring Jeremy Jordan, premiered at the Roxy Cinema in New York City. Check out photos of Jordan at the screening, joined by Tony winners Lena Hall, Michael Mayer & Diane Paulus, Bryan Batt, Krysta Rodriguez, Orfeh, Andy Karl, Callum Francis, and more.

HEATHERS: THE MUSICAL to Screen in U.K. Cinemas Photo
The filmed capture of Heathers: the Musical will screen in 320 screens across the U.K. and Ireland from March 28 through May 6. Each screening will be followed by a bonus 10-minute special, “Behind the Scenes at The Other Palace,” which features a look behind the musical being filmed that the London venue for its original 2022 release.

Terrence McNally Pens Note on RAGTIME: Its All For Marin Tonight Photo
Last night, the best of Broadway gathered at the Minskoff Theatre for the years-in-the-making Ragtime reunion concert benefitting the Entertainment Community Fund. You can read the late Terrence McNally's note to the audience in full here.

More Hot Stories For You

The Late Terrence McNally Pens Note on RAGTIME: 'It's All For Marin Tonight'The Late Terrence McNally Pens Note on RAGTIME: 'It's All For Marin Tonight'
March 28, 2023

Last night, the best of Broadway gathered at the Minskoff Theatre for the years-in-the-making Ragtime reunion concert benefitting the Entertainment Community Fund. You can read the late Terrence McNally's note to the audience in full here.

Photos: Billy Porter Celebrates His OUT Magazine Cover at Somewhere NowherePhotos: Billy Porter Celebrates His OUT Magazine Cover at Somewhere Nowhere
March 28, 2023

OUT, the leading LGBTQ+ fashion and lifestyle publication, unveiled its March/April issue on March 24th, featuring Emmy-, Tony-, and Grammy-winning icon Billy Porter on the cover. Porter recently celebrated his OUT Magazine cover at Somewhere Nowhere. Check out photos here!

Video: Watch Original RAGTIME Cast Reunite for Curtain CallVideo: Watch Original RAGTIME Cast Reunite for Curtain Call
March 28, 2023

Just last night, The Entertainment Community Fund presented a one-night-only benefit reunion concert of Ragtime at the Minskoff Theatre. Watch as Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Peter Friedman, Kelli O'Hara and more take their bows at the end of the big night!

HAMILTON Will Make its Asian Premiere In Manila This SeptemberHAMILTON Will Make its Asian Premiere In Manila This September
March 28, 2023

Tony, Grammy, Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning Hamilton will make its Asian premiere in Manila, for a strictly limited season, at The Theatre at Solaire this September. 

Wake Up With BWW 3/28: Inside SWEENEY TODD Opening Night, Plus a Message From Rachel Brosnahan!Wake Up With BWW 3/28: Inside SWEENEY TODD Opening Night, Plus a Message From Rachel Brosnahan!
March 28, 2023

Top stories: Check out our coverage from opening night of Sweeney Todd, plus watch a video message from Rachel Brosnahan in honor of BroadwayWorld's 20th anniversary!