Chicago has enjoyed an annual Flamenco Festival for over ten years, produced in part by the Flamenco Arts Center, which is one of the interdisciplinary avenues explored by Book + Paper MFA Kathi Beste. The annual event has varied in size over the years, running from two weeks in length to almost six weeks of lectures, performances, exhibitions, film screenings and workshops.
In 2013, economic conditions took a toll on this home-grown event. Cultural partners have all suffered from cuts in funding, but still wished to continue the February tradition. Flamenco Arts Center and Old Town School of Folk Music took the initiative to schedule a performance and workshops with the group Flamenco Aparicio, and the Instituto Cervantes joined them in adding a second performance.
“It was a challenge to work with the scaled down economics and the very high expectations of Chicago’s flamenco audience. I am very happy I’ve been able to keep the quality high with the presentation of this performance and the accompanying workshops,” says Kathi. “All the partners are hopeful that we will be able to enlarge the selection and variety of flamenco events in 2014. And I am glad that with this performance, we will be able to keep the Chicago audience thinking of February as ‘Flamenco Month’ for years to come.
The workshops were held last week in dance, technique, and structure. The performances will be at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Wednesday February 13, and at the Instituto Cervantes Chicago on February 14, Valentine’s Day.