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The 2013 DC Feria de Sevilla is coming June 2nd to Strathmore!
It's about 1:00am on Tuesday as I type these words. My photographer friend Steve Johnson kindly offered to let me republish some of his fabulous photos from last year's DC Feria de Sevilla. As expected, it was really hard for me to narrow them down to about 10 (actually 12) in my attempt to give you an idea what it's like to go to this highly-anticipated annual event.
In case you've never been, you're in luck. This year's DC Feria de Sevilla is coming up very soon on Sunday June 12, 2013. It's from noon until 6:00pm and takes place at Strathmore at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda, Maryland. There's a very convenient parking garage across the street with a pedestrian bridge leading directly to the site. There's also the Grosvenor/Strathmore metro stop. Best of all: admission is FREE!
So what's this DC Feria about? Don't get me wrong. It doesn't even come close in comparison with the real Feria in Sevilla in Spain. But it's still a very large event attended by hundreds perhaps even a thousand every year. It's more like a celebration of Spanish culture with:
1. Flamenco performances by local dance companies all afternoon,
The organization that puts on the DC Feria every year is Centro Español de Washington DC.
I imagine that most people spend most of the time watching the flamenco shows on the main stage. That's all good and well, but I suggest you take some time to check out what's going on in the tents or casetas. Most of the time you'll see couples of all ages from children on up dancing Sevillanas dressed in traditional Feria outfits or street clothes. Some of the dancers will be playing castanets. Occasionally they'll mix it up with some other dances such as fandangos de Huelva, tanguillos de Cádiz or even a rumba. The audience is encouraged to clap along and shout "Olé!"
Some go all out in traditional Feria de Sevilla attire like Miles Hamby seen here dancing Sevillanas with a friend. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
Flamenco guitarist Paco de Málaga playing at what continues to be year after year the most popular caseta at the DC Feria. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
Students of Ana Martínez dancing Sevillanas. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
I also suggest that you arrive early to check out what the food vendors are preparing so you'll know which ones to hit first before the lines get long later in the day, and trust me, they will. You'll definitely see dishes such as paella, tortilla española, jamón Serrano, Manchego cheese, cold Gazpacho soup and more. You can even get some sangría to go with that. But you'll have to stand in one line to buy food tickets and stand in yet another line to use those tickets to buy food. There might be an ATM nearby, but definitely bring cash to make life easier.
Paella expertly prepared by a Taberna del Alaberdero chef. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
This is just one of many oversized pans of the most popular dish served at the DC Feria: paella! June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
The lines are usually long, but the wait for a plate of fresh and hot paella is worth it. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
Around noon, there's the traditional sing-along of the "Salve Rociera" and a few words by the president of Centro Español, the presentation of the Feria's official reina and her damas then the Feria officially begins.
Each hour there will be a flamenco performance by a local dance company which takes place at the outdoor amphitheater. Most people stake out a space on the lawn early in the day and stay, so if you want a good view, I suggest you get there early. Bring a blanket to sit on and dress appropriately for the weather. Each year is different, but we've had everything from sunny days, cloudy-threatening-to-rain days, rainy days, extremely hot and cold windy days. But no matter what the weather, we manage to carry on!
[Editor's note: it so happened that my photographer friend Steve only had pics of Flamenco Aparicio of few which you see below. Other companies that performed and that will be performing at the DC Feria this year include Carmen de Vicente's Requiebros, Natalia Monteleón's Arte Flamenco, the Ana Martínez Flamenco Dance Company and Furia Flamenca. I know we all have our favorites, but do support all the groups. They've been working hard preparing for the Feria.]
12:15pm Opening ceremony. "Salve Rociera"
Dancers of Flamenco Aparicio, one of several invited companies performing at the DC Feria: Edwin Aparicio, Anna Menéndez, Dana and Yolit. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
Flamenco Aparicio. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
View from the stage. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
View from the audience. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
View of the stage from the top of the hill. TIP: get there early to stake out your seat on the lawn. June 2012 (photo by Steve Johnson)
I hope this blog entry gives first-timers an idea of what to expect. Anyway, to sum things up, here's a list of tips for the DC Feria (which I originally published in my blog in 2001!):
1. Get there early. The first group goes on at about 1:00pm. Every group works hard to put on a good show and deserves to have a good size audience—the children and other student performers need your moral support. There are groups performing every hour or so.
2. Another reason to get there early is to preview the food kiosks. Decide which ones you want to visit so that later in the day when the lines get long—and they will—you'll know what you're waiting for. Don't forget, you have to stand in line to buy food tickets and then stand in another line to use those tickets to get food.
3. If you're into photography or videos, take your camera or camcorder. There are lots of colorful costumes and personalities that you'll want to capture on film.
4. Make the rounds. There is lots to see. Don't just "plant" yourself at your favorite caseta. Each one has something special to offer.
5. Finally this last tip applies especially to the performers. During the rest of the year, many of us are in competition with each other. It can be a good thing—it challenges us to be our best. But on this special day, don't lose sight of what the Feria is all about: it's NOT to celebrate ourselves but rather to celebrate the beauty and richness of Spanish culture.
Once again, the DC Feria is on Sunday June 2, 2013 at Strathmore from noon until 6:00pm. Download the official flyer. If you're on Facebook, you'll want to visit my DC Feria event page where I'll post photos, links of interest as well as any last-minute announcements. I'll also be posting announcements about the DC Feria on Twitter. See you there!
Natalia Monteleón's Arte Flamenco at Cinco de Mayo Fest in Baltimore
Arte Flamenco dancers Terrie and Mark in Tangos de Málaga. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
It's 6pm on Wednesday as I type these words. Did a school show this morning at La Tasca Rockville and now I'm here in Alexandria at my favorite cafe catching up on email before heading to my gig at Las Tapas.
Since the closing of Plaza del Sol, my former Saturday night gig for a year-and-a-half, I still haven't found a replacement gig yet. Fortunately, I've had a quite a few calls for one-time private gigs and performances with local dance companies like Natalia Monteleón's Arte Flamenco.
So this past Sunday, Arte Flamenco performed at Baltimore's "oldest and finest" Cinco de Mayo festival hosted by Education Based Latino Outreach. Yours truly was the guitarist accompanying singer/dancer Claudia Román and members of the dance company.
My longtime photographer friend Stan Peters came out to show his support and graciously offered to photograph our performance. Here is a small selection of photos. Enjoy!
Yanira in Fandangos de Huelva. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Arte Flamenco director Natalia Monteleón in Fandangos de Huelva. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Terrie and Mark in Tangos de Málaga. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Natasha in Tientos/Tangos. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Rebecca, Yanira and Francisca in Guajiras. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Rebecca, Natasha, Yanira and Francisca in Guajiras. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Claudia Román in Soleá por Bulería. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Yanira, Terrie, Francisca and Mark in Soleá. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Rebecca, Yanira, Terrie, Natasha and Terrie in Soleá. May 5, 2013 (Photo by Stan Peters)
Arte Flamenco's upcoming performances:
Flamenco at Lima Lounge by Jill Hatzai
Flamenco dancers Yolit Yospe and Jason Vera y Aragón at Lima Lounge. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
No it's not a regular gig—just a one-time engagement for the Learn4Change fundraiser. But nonetheless, it's still a very cool performance space and lucky for us that same night, my longtime photographer friend Jill Hatzai was in the audience and sure enough she brought her camera. Here are a few pics. Enjoy!
Yolit Yospe. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Sarah Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Sarah Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Sara Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Sara Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Sara Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Jill Hatzai)
Flamenco show at La Tasca Clarendon presented by Mahou
Flamenco guitarist Miguelito with dancers Kyoko and Sarah Louisa Castellanos at La Tasca Clarendon. May 1, 2013 (photo by AJ Landaeta)
It's 10-something am on Thursday as I type these words. So last night I had a gig at La Tasca in Clarendon which, lucky for me, happens to be almost walking distance from my house—love it when that happens!
You must be wondering if these Mahou-sponsored flamenco shows at La Tasca are just a one-time deal or if it's a regular thing. Well here's what's up: the Mahou brewery company (from Madrid) is making its way into the bars and restaurants of DC. And Mahou sales rep AJ Landaeta is making that happen to the delight of Spanish beer lovers.
So when a DC area Spanish restaurant adds a Mahou tap to the bar, we're adding a little something extra to the celebration with a live flamenco show. And yours truly with a few flamenco dancers will be doing a little "tour" of the DC area La Tasca restaurants.
As usual, I'll be promoting upcoming Mahou-sponsored flamenco shows of course, but you can also follow Mahou sales rep AJ on Twitter for up-to-the-minute announcements.
Here are a few pics from last night at La Tasca Clarendon. Enjoy!
Sarah dancing tientos/tangos. May 1, 2013 (photo by AJ Landaeta)
Sarah. May 1, 2013 (photo by AJ Landaeta)
AJ Landaeta from Mahou with Kyoko and Sarah. May 1, 2013
Our "stage" for the evening. May 1, 2013
My trusty Behringer mixer and Yamaha flamenco guitar. May 1, 2013
Mahou draft is now at La Tasca! May 1, 2013
Flamenco at the Learn4Change fundraiser at Lima Lounge
Flamenco dancers Sarah Louisa Castellanos, Jason Vera y Aragón, Yolit Yospe and guitarist Miguelito at Lima Lounge in Washington DC. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
It's 2-something pm on Monday as I type these words. So this past Friday, I had the pleasure and privilege of being invited to perform at a fundraiser hosted by Learn4Change at Lima Lounge in Washington, DC.
From the Learn4Change website:
As far as I know, this was the first time flamenco was performed here at Lima. Of course, I'm not forgetting that rumba group Duende Camarón gigged here in 2009. I'm talking about flamenco beyond rumba: tangos, tientos, soleá, alegrías, bulerías etc.
Sarah, Jason, Yolit and Miguelito. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
Joining me in this performance were flamenco dancers Sarah Louisa Castellanos, Yolit Yospe and cajón player Jason Vera y Aragón.
We did two 20-minute sets at 8:30pm and 9:30pm.
Flamenco dancer Sarah Louisa Castellanos. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
The performance took place in the lower level of Lima, which if you didn't know already, is a very popular dance club worth checkin' out. Fortunately, the VIP area has a raised wood floor which worked perfectly as a tablao for our performance. It's a beautiful space with clean lines and tastefully futuristic décor and lighting. Of course, I didn't want to clutter our stage with microphone and speaker stands and unnecessary cables, so I went wireless for the guitar (Line 6 G30) and carefully hid the microphone cable for the cajón behind the chairs. Yeah I admit I am a bit of a neat freak. ;-) But it's for a good reason: I like the audience to appreciate the visual beauty of the performance with minimal distraction from the cables etc of the technology behind it.
Sarah. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
I even brought my own stage lighting which you can see best in the photo below. The lights were dimmed in the rest of the club. And I selected a warm shade of amber for the stage to bring the visual focus on the dancers and help set the perfect ambiente for flamenco.
Sarah and Yolit. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
Of course, all this techy stuff concerning lights and sound leading up to the performance itself can only go so far. We want look and sound our best but ultimately, as performing artists we still have to connect with our audience on an emotional level through the art of music and dance.
I like to think that we were successful in presenting an inspiring performance for our audience. We got lots of compliments, but I'll leave it up to you my readers, to leave a comment below.
Patricia, Jazmin and Miguelito. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
It was a very nice surprise to see my friend Jazmin in the audience. Actually she and I worked together long ago back when I used to have a day job. Great to see you Jazmin!
Finally, we have a photo of yours truly with the birthday celebrants, founders of Learn4Change and the organizers of the evening's fundraiser: Alvin Humerez and Maria Tiratsuyan!
Vice president of Learn4Change Alvin Humerez, Founder and president Maria Tiratsuyan and Miguelito. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
Read more about Maria and Alvin on the Learn4Change website.
Alvin, Yolit and Miguelito. April 26, 2013 (photo by Mark Kanawati)
Special thanks to photographer Mark Kanawati who kindly allowed me to republish his gorgeous photos in my blog. Thanks Mark!
Text and original images ©1996-2013 by . Please do not republish content from this website, including text and photos, in whole or part without prior written permission.
Details in the calendar.
DCFlamenco on Twitter
Just heard that dancer Rocío Montoya from Granada will be teaching from January-April at Arte Flamenco studio in Laurel, MD. Formerly with the Rafaela Carrasco Company and Riverdance! More info at Arte Flamenco.12/20/2011
Checkout this preview photo of the upcoming mobile version of DCFlamenco.com!12/18/2011
Read George Jackson's review of Edwin Aparicio's "Flamenco Men".12/14/2011
Read the Metro Diversity review of Edwin Aparicio's "Flamenco Men".12/07/2011
Just added to the calendar: flamenco show at Plaza del Sol Restaurant in Bethesda, Maryland 7pm and 8pm Saturday December 17, 2011 featuring dancer Sarah Louisa Hart and guitarist Miguelito. Call 301-215-4199.12/04/2011
Read the Washington Post review of PostClassical Ensemble's "El Amor Brujo" mentioning flamenco singer Esperanza Fernández.11/29/2011
Lisner Auditorium's Flamenco Festival is back in February/March 2012!!! Sign up for their mailing list to get early ticket buying privileges.11/21/2011
Check out the music sample of DC-based flamenco guitarist Behzad Habibzai on his ReverbNation profile.11/14/2011
New Tuesday night Adult Intermediate Flamenco Class by Yolit Yospe starts November 15th at 8:00pm at American Dance Institute in Rockville, Maryland.10/30/2011
Read Sarah Halzack's Washington Post review of the Friday October 28th performance by Compañía Flamenca José Porcel at George Mason University's Center for the Arts.10/28/2011
If you're on FourSquare, live in DC and love flamenco, checkout my list Flamenco in Washington DC.10/27/2011
Read Natalie Stemp's review of the 2011 Velocity DC festival that mentions flamenco dancer Anna Menéndez.
Read Rebecca Ritzel's review of the 2011 Velocity DC festival that mentions flamenco dancers Edwin Aparicio and Anna Menéndez.9/11/2011
Special message for a friend
Alegrías por Giulia Risso
Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
La Comunidad Flamenca en DC, tus hermanas y madre dentro de este arte y tu familia te desean lo mejor en esta nueva etapa.8/11/2011
Yeah it's official. Miguelito (that's me!) is going to start teaching guitar again. If you're interested in flamenco lessons, message me.8/10/2011
New Class by Anna Menéndez: Intermediate Flamenco "Lunch Hour Workshop" at DC Dance Collective from 12:30pm-1:30pm. Beginning September 7th through October 26th, 2011. Email or call 410-598-75627/9/2011
Just added to the calendar: Flamenco Night at Divino Lounge in Bethesda.6/6/2011
Dancer Kyoko just started an intermediate-level flamenco class at DC Dance Collective focusing on upper body/stylization. Thursdays 7:30pm to 8:30pm.
"We will be working on everything but the feet (although some footwork will be introduced as part of the choreography) - so this means arms, wrists, shoulders, hips, torso, head, turns, markings, etc!"6/3/2011
Just added to the calendar: Una Noche Flamenca at Area 405 coming Saturday June 18th. Only 100 seats. Buy your tickets early!6/2/2011
Yes it's true: Cafe Citron is officially back open! So is Cafe Citron's flamenco show this Saturday at 7:30pm and 8:30pm.5/26/2011
Just added to the calendar: Sergio Bernal-Alonso flamenco workshop from June 27th through July 1st.5/23/2011
Checkout this preview video of a flamenco documentary titled Inheritors of a Burden: A documentary by Carolina Loyola-García which features some DC flamenco artists including Richard Marlow, Anna Menendez, Edwin Aparicio, Marija Temo and Manolo Leiva.5/16/2011
Just added to the calendar for June: Furia Flamenca and Natalia Monteleón's Arte Flamenco at the Washington Folk Festival.
200% more visits compared to a month ago! The day after major flamenco events like yesterday's DC Feria de Sevilla, the number of visits to my website DCFlamenco.com goes way up. Not that more visits makes me rich or anything, but it pleases me that more and more people are taking an interest in flamenco and thanks to me, they have an online resource to help them find out more about it!5/14/2011
Just added to the calendar in June: flamenco shows at Taberna del Alabardero and concert by Carmen de Vicente at Gunston Arts Center.4/26/2011
Just heard that due to overwhelming demand, 3:00pm matinee added for April 30th performance of Anna Menendez's Pastora Flamenco at The Warehouse Theater.4/23/2011
Just added to the calendar: Bridging of Two Cultures: Andalucía-Crete at Lincoln Theatre.4/9/2011
Checkout the pics of the flamenco show at El Manantial in the Reston Patch.4/2/2011
Just added guitar teacher Maurice Arenas to the Teacher Directory.3/15/2011
Dancer Yolit Yospe is now teaching at American Dance Institute on Tuesdays at 8pm. Intermediate-beginners class. Technique of upper body, arms, foot work, and choreography for an alegrías.
Just added to the calendar: Pastora Flamenco at the Warehouse Theater on April 30, 2011.03/03/2011
Sylvia Melecio is now teaching flamenco at Forever Dancing Ballroom in Falls Church, Virginia. A new session starts this Sunday March 6th at noon!2/27/2011
Here's the video of Berklee Flamenco at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage from last night.2/24/2011
Just added the Miguel Vargas masterclass to the calendar.2/1/2011
Just added a new event featuring dancer Sarah Hart and Behzad Habibzai coming up on February 17th. See calendar for more info.1/27/2011
Starting Thursday February 3, 2011 La Tasca in Old Town Alexandria will feature Sevillanas shows with dancer Sara Jerez and guest with live guitar by Miguelito. Performances at 7:30pm and 9:00pm. Call 703-299-9810.
Paco Peña, Carmela Greco, La Truco, María Juncal and Pepa Molina are coming to DC! Just added a few new events to the calendar to start off 2011.
Flamenco dance costumes for sale here.