Alice Blumenfeld is the founder and artistic director of Abrepaso Flamenco and will be a Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance at Oberlin College beginning Fall 2018. Versed in flamenco and contemporary dance, she has created a unique aesthetic and visceral approach to flamenco choreography. Blumenfeld holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and a BA in Comparative Literature from New York University. In 2012, she received a Fulbright Grant in dance, traveling to Spain for research in flamenco choreography. In her ten years as a freelance dancer, she has performed with companies from L.A. to NYC, including; Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, Nélida Tirado & Co., Pasión y Arte, The American Bolero Dance Co., Grammy Award winner Hernán Romero, Forever Flamenco, and many others.
Angelica Escoto, courtesy Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana
Irene Rodriguez's recent Dance Magazine interview—which mentions only a few of the many flamenco companies in the U.S. and claims a lack of innovation in American flamenco, and has already drawn criticism in a letter to the editor penned by Ensemble Español—brings to the forefront a deeper problem surrounding flamenco in the United States.
Why are so many flamenco dance companies and dancers in the U.S.—especially those pushing the form forward—overlooked and undervalued? Why do we constantly have to defend our work?
How many times have you been questioned for not pursuing something "more serious"? Photo by Nadim Merrikh/Unsplash
People have a tendency to think of dance as purely physical and not intellectual. But when we separate movement from intellect, we limit what dance can do for the world.
It's not hard to see that dance is thought of as less than other so-called "intellectual pursuits." How many dancers have been told they should pursue something "more serious"? How many college dance departments don't receive funding on par with theater or music departments, much less science departments?
It can be hard to know where to start when you're in the studio alone. Photo by Erik Tomasson, courtesy SFB
Whether you're a dancer, a choreographer, or both, having time alone in the studio allows artists to grow in ways that class or rehearsal simply doesn't. Yet without other people around to tell you what to do or keep you accountable, it's easy to get stuck staring at yourself in the mirror, wondering where to begin.
Here's how to make the most of your studio time and avoid staring aimlessly back at your reflection:
Flamenco's roots are deeply intertwined in the Andalusian culture of the southern-most region of Spain. If you travel there to dance, you'll be in good company—from aficionados to professionals, flamencos from all over the world flock to cities like Madrid, Jerez, Sevilla and Granada. Each has its own appeal, whether you're looking for intensive study or just to catch an amazing performance: