Bay Area Flamenco presents dancer Maria del Mar Moreno from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain on Friday October 25th at 8pm at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.
A hotbed of flamenco, Jerez has more flamenco artists per capita than any other city in Spain. Maria del Mar Moreno is one of the most celebrated among them. She will be joined by singers Zaira Malena and Tomasa Peña, percussionist Luis de la Tota, and guitarist Pepe del Morao (nephew of legendary Moraíto).
The evening’s featured guest artist is singer Diego Agujetas, who is in town for his CD launch the following night, Saturday October 26th, at La Peña Cultural Center in Berkeley.
Maria del Mar Moreno began dancing professionally at the age of 10 and throughout her early years on stage, she was surrounded by some of flamenco’s greatest figures of all time in the vibrant community of Jerez de la Frontera where she grew up. Training initially with Angelita Gómez, she went on to study with such giants as Matilde Coral, Rafael “El Negro” and Mario Maya. Still in her teens she became the lead dancer in Manuel Morao y sus Gitanos de Jerez partnering with Antonio el Pipa and for the next 10 years she toured all over the world representing the particular style of flamenco cultivated in her hometown of Jerez de la Frontera. In 1999 she was awarded the Copa de Jerez for Dance by the Cátedra de Flamencología de Jerez and soon after founded her own company in 2001, performing throughout Spain, Europe and the Americas. At the same time she got her BA in literature and a masters in business.
A uncommonly gifted teacher she has her own academy in Jerez and is in great demand internationally with her “Jerez Puro” workshop series. While here in the Bay Area she will offer two days of workshops for local dancers.
Carrying the torch for traditional flamenco, del Mar Moreno sees the art as a living culture. Her performances are the very incarnation of this philosophy, bringing the art into the 21st century as she challenges existing taboos and mores from within. Her deep understanding of flamenco song as a vessel for transmitting cultural memory, lends a gravitas to her dance, which is in constant dialogue with the singer.
Guest artist Diego Agujetas is the son of “Agujetas el Viejo,” a blacksmith from Jerez de la Frontera renowned as a depository for the oldest forms of Gitano singing. His mother, from a parallel tradition in el Puerto de Santa María, was heir to a style of song known as the Gitano “romance.” Diego, like his brother, the legendary Manuel Agujetas, keeps these forms alive, passed down through the generations and is revered for his ability to evoke the duende of the ancient sounds through his voice.