Pasión y Arte brings Tablao to Philadelphia

Founded by Bolivian-born Elba Hevia y Vaca in 2000, Pasión y Arte quickly achieved a  reputation for staging groundbreaking contemporary feminist flamenco dances that are simultaneously deeply steeped in the teachings of the southern Spanish masters and Hevia y Vaca’s personal experiences as a woman, Latina, Bolivian and American. She is not alone. Other contemporary choreographers create experimental work  influenced by the homegrown culture of Latin America and the US, which is why Hevia y Vaca has decided to initiate a special series of two annual tablao performances featuring Flamenco de Las Americas.

The performances have two main goals: to promote the work of high-level flamenco masters who are not from Spain and to educate the Philadelphia public about tablao.

What is tablao?

Like the atmosphere once created when beat poets gathered to recite verses, tablao refers to the milieu in which flamencos showcased their dancing until the art was institutionalized in theatrical performances. 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. Flamenco de Las Americas will recreate the feeling of the tablao setting, using the intimacy offered by the Plays and Players 3rd Floor Cabaret Theatre to greatest effect.

Each tablao performance will run 60 minutes. Friday and Saturday shows will feature Pasión y Arte dancers and guests from other US cities. Featuring special guest guitarist/contaora (singer). Post-performance discussion regarding all components of flamenco will be held on Saturday night. Pasión y Arte Conservatory students will star in both Sunday performances.

Pasión y Arte presents
Flamenco de Las Americas: A Tablao Experience

Feburary 20-21 at 9:30 pm
February 22 at 5 pm and 8 pm

Tickets (General Admission) $20 online, $25 at the door.
By phone at 267-235-5685 or through

Plays and Players, 1714 Delancey St., Philadelphia
Third floor cabaret space with cash bar.

Featuring special guest female guitarist/cantaora (singer), Marija Temo.
Saturday Night: We will be holding a post-performance, informal discussion about the various components of flamenco, with renown guitarist/cantaora (singer), Marija Temo and Company Members.

About Pasión y Arte

Pasión y Arte is a nonprofit dance company and educational and cultural organization founded in 2000 out of a strong and intensely personal conviction that highly stylized traditionally Spanish flamenco dance is the perfect vessel to empower women. Pasión y Arte’s mission is to simultaneously preserve, strengthen and challenge the flamenco tradition by creating and performing works that maintain flamenco’s classicist artistic integrity and focus on women’s empowerment. Even while preserving flamenco’s rigidity, Pasión y Arte seeks to push its boundaries, embracing the tension that that creates and drawing inspiration from personal experience just as our foremothers did.

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