Encuentro Flamenco
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    Encuentro Flamenco

    Music in the Afternoon

    When: Tuesday, 10/3/2023 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

    Where: Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Bldg F)

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC



    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

    World-renowned flamenco dancer Fanny Ara presents "Encuentro Flamenco," a performance where you will experience graceful and powerful dance, musical virtuosity and a visual and auditory journey through both traditional and modern expression of this ancient art form, flamenco. 

    Artists:
    Fanny Ara, dancer
    Melissa Cruz, dancer
    Felix De Lola, singer
    David McLean, guitarist
    Marlon Aldana, percussionist

    Fanny Ara, dancer and artistic director, is an internationally sought-after and award-winning choreographer, performer and instructor. Her most dedicated worldwide fans especially credit her as one of the driving forces of flamenco today; an artist excelling in the full spectrum of flamenco, from the most traditional to the avant-garde.

    Fanny has been an invited artist in national and international festivals and has toured extensively in Canada, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and throughout Europe. She has been distinguished since 2006 with nominations from the Isadora Duncan Dance Awards in the categories of "Most Outstanding Individual Dancer"; "Most Outstanding Music", "Ensemble" and "Individual Performance" for her project, Juncal Street; and "Best Ensemble" for her work with the San Francisco Opera in La Traviata. New York's Vilcek Foundation also awarded Fanny a prestigious finalist prize for "Creative Promise in Dance" in 2012. Fanny's versatility in the art form of flamenco is manifested in her many artistic works.

    As Philip Gardner said of her performance at the Joyce Theater in New York City "My newest love is Fanny Ara...the captivating expressive qualities of Fanny's upper body mesmerized us while her footwork dazzled both the eye and the ear...she soared into the upper most echelon of dance artists I have witnessed over the years."

    Fanny's latest work as an artistic director/principal dancer was in Tattooed, which premiered in October 2019 in San Francisco and was reviewed as "one of the most amazing, moving and effective flamenco productions where the ovation was immediate, standing, vociferous, prolonged."

    Melissa Cruz, dancer, is a Bay Area-based flamenco professional and has been a full-time flamenco artist and instructor for the past 15 years. She began training with the Bay Area's acclaimed flamenco master Rosa Montoya and soon thereafter, joined Ms. Montoya's professional company. Melissa has performed as a soloist in the San Francisco International Arts Festival and has presented in eight San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festivals, twice as a featured soloist. Summer 2021 saw her featured in the one-woman flamenco theater play, Flamenco on my Own, produced in collaboration with Miami's Ballet Flamenco La Rosa and as a featured performer and instructor at the 2021 Festival Flamenco Albuquerque presented by the National Institute of Flamenco. In 2023, Melissa was a featured artist in the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival in San Francisco and a featured soloist in the Peninsula International Dance Festival. She will present her own program at the World Arts West Dance Festival in the fall.

    In addition to her accomplished artistic career, Melissa is a Bachelor of the Arts graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Francisco. As described by Rachel Howard of the SF Chronicle, "Any dancer could make pained faces. But Cruz is clearly possessed by the duende—the spirit that drives this deeply introspective art."

    David Scott McLean is an Oakland-based flamenco guitarist, composer and producer. He works regularly with AguaClara Flamenco, Fanny Ara, Carola Zertuche's Theatre Flamenco and Melissa Cruz, and has shared the stage with hundreds of artists from Spain and around the globe. He is known for his rhythmic "thumby" style and his blending of both traditional and contemporary toque. His most recent album of originals called Te Canto Colores was released in September of 2021, receiving critical acclaim and a feature by journalist Andrew Gilbert. David also co-produces a regularly sold-out flamenco cycle at The Sound Room in Oakland, where he spotlights many of the Bay Area's amazing flamenco talents.

    Felix de Lola, a flamenco singer from Sevilla, Spain, studied with renowned flamenco singers Jesus Heredia and Naranjito de Triana. His recent, extensive touring schedule has brought him to world stages throughout Western and Eastern Europe, Costa Rica, South Africa and the United States, singing for a list of illustrious artists such as dancers Juan Polvillo, Angel Atienza, Junco, Juan Ogalla, Belen Maya, Pastora Galvan, Antonio Granjero, Antonio Hidalgo and Carmela Greco and guitarists Jose Luis Postigo and the prestigious guitarist and composer Jose Luis Rodriguez, musical director of the famed Cristina Hoyos Flamenco Company.

    Along with his superb singing talent, Felix composes music and verses for flamenco song, and composes theatrical works and musical adaptations for flamenco theater. In Costa Rica he is recognized as a leading expert of flamenco. Recent projects include composing musical adaptations of Costa Rican writer Cristy Van de Laat's The Red Book of Black Haiku and the play Moureliana, based on the poetic works of writer, Jose Nestor Mourelo Aguilar.

    Marlon Aldana, drummer and percussionist, was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He is a multi-genre accompanist and educator based in Oakland, California and an active member of the Recording Academy/Grammys San Francisco Chapter. Throughout his career, Marlon has been part of many projects exploring and executing different music styles such as jazz, flamenco, salsa/timba, funk, rock, Brazilian, cumbia and reggae. He has shared the stage with renowned artists such as flamenco guitarists and 2020 Grammy Award Winner Antonio Rey, legendary Bay Area rumbero John Santos, former Pedrito Martinez pianist Edgar Pantoja, Bay Area legendary bassist Jeff Chambers, The Oakland Symphony led by conductor Omid Zoufonoun, guitarist/composer Jason McGuire, Spanish guitarist Jose Luis de La Paz, flamenco pianist Alex Conde and many more.

    Marlon is now working on building an independent recording studio and writing his own material.


    Funded in part by the Jewish Community Federation and Endowment Fund. We are grateful for the generous support of all of our donors.


    Tuesday, October 3
    1:00–2:00 PM | Doors open at 12:30 PM | Linger after the concert for a snack and beverage in the lobby.
    The Nourish Cafe on campus is open for lunch before the concert
    Albert and Janet Schultz Cultural Arts Hall (Bldg F)
    $15 tickets purchased online before September 23 | $25 after September 23 | Tickets may be purchased at the door.
    Contact: Michelle Rosengaus | [email protected]

    OFJCC Palo Alto JCC

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