1096 | 2013:
Spanning pivotal periods throughout women’s history, “1096” is a collaborative work that ultimately creates a unique dialogue between two diverse dance languages. At its heart, it is an exploratory and feminist conversation between flamenco artist Elba Hevia y Vaca of Pasion y Arte and modern dance artist KC Chun-Manning, of Fresh Blood, and seeks to understand from an artistic and somatic perspective where their two languages meet–and what might be said. The piece not only engages the traditions of two distinct dance forms, but it plays within the conceptual landscape of what we carry over time, treating the body as a time capsule; or, a “body archive.”
El Duelo/The Wake | 2009-2010:
This piece enters into the inner world of women as they experience the phases of mourning surrounding the death of a shared loved one. Each dancer represents the many phases of mourning such as anger, sadness, rejection, nostalgia and denial. Through the traditions of flamenco and Afro-Cuban music, this work expresses the modern, changing face of Flamenco.
Geografia Intima/Intimate Geography | 2007-2008:
This piece deconstructs stereotypical impressions of three different historic-religious female archetypes. A journey that explores the boundaries of the flamenco tradition through movement and non-traditional flamenco music. The visual landscape incorporates original footage of multiple close-up images of the three women dancing. This set invites the viewer into the intimate space of each woman and creates a dialogue with the viewer. The women dance in dialogue with the projected versions of themselves and with each other, moving in and out of each other’s mirrors, space, and time.
“Geografia Intima makes inventive use of its spectacular venue […] further transformed by Adal Maldonado’s video landscape. A must-see is the extremely high caliber of its performer and artistic direction.”
Nancy Heller, Philadelphia Inquirer.
La Luna de Par en Par/The Moon Wide Open | 2005-2006:
Conceptually, this trilogy explores the female psyche through our experience of dance.
- It represents the woman’s journey:
- Part I – Loss of Innocence-Awareness,
- Part II – Duality-Masculinity,
- Part III – Evolution-Woman.
Each section of the trilogy has a theme and consequent choice of choreography, cast, music, video set, and costume. This piece is firmly rooted in flamenco traditions, but introduces multi-disciplinary elements through various musical genres, cross-disciplinary choreography, and video images that create a visual landscape and set.
El Cuerpo Recuerda/The Body Remembers | 2003-2004:
“The Body Remembers” features six female dancers of multi-cultural and multi-generational backgrounds who use the language of flamenco to investigate the shared collective experience stored in their bodies as historical memories. Choreographically, this work explores Hevia y Vaca’s continued interest in using contemporary forms of dance along with traditional flamenco styles.
“Pasión y Arte is the right name for this intense, dramatic, all-female ensemble. […] Although they use traditional forms (farruca, siguiriyas, alegrías), they’re a neo-flamenco group, creating contemporary innovations in the formal choreography and music. They personified modernity in a short interlude. […]
Staging, choreography, timing and sense of drama were impeccable throughout.”
Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Dance Magazine.
Poder de Una Mujer /Power of Her Being | 2002-2003:
Rooted in the flamenco art form’s cante (deep song), toque (guitar), and baile (dance), this work nevertheless challenges tradition through its choreography and staging. It is a thorough exploration of women’s differences and how these differences have the ability to unite rather than divide. Its choreography explores a new vocabulary by using rigid, primal, instinctual references and an aggressive demeanor, which creates an uncharacteristic aesthetic for women in flamenco. This collaboration with artist Adál Maldonado incorporated a visual landscape for this work that further expands the environment.
“The women of Pasión y Arte took the stage like burning embers, searing images of the flamenco idiom into our memories.”
Merilyn Jackson, Philadelphia Inquirer.
Tablao.(A traditional performance that is easily adaptable to space and length).
Refers to the milieu in which flamencos showcased their dancing until the art was institutionalized in theatrical performances, similar to the atmosphere once created when beat poets gathered to recite verses. Flamenco emerged as a unique art form in the 15th century. Spanish Gypsies (or Roma) danced flamenco privately in their rural homes. The dance gradually migrated from the countryside to south Spain’s cities, where Gypsy artists performed on the streets and in plazas. By the 1840s, nightclubs called “cafes del cante” began to host flamenco tablao, giving flamencos the opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary skills at improvising movement within the confines of rigid rhythmic structures. The cafes were the first enterprises to pay flamenco dancers, singers, and musicians. Commercial flamenco was born. From the mid 1800s-early 1900s, highly acclaimed flamenco artists danced in cafes del cante. Tablao performances helped flamenco to grow in expressive range and aesthetic precision, exposing non-Gypsy audiences to the art.