Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco features Adrian Santana

  • by Laura Moreno
  • Tuesday May 2, 2023
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Flamenco dancer, teacher and choreographer Adrian Santana
Flamenco dancer, teacher and choreographer Adrian Santana

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco proudly presents the upcoming show "Transitar por un Mundo sin Tiempo (Passage through a Timeless World)" on Saturday, May 13 at the Herbst Theatre in San Francisco.

Featuring openly gay dancer Adrian Santana from Malaga, Spain, and Artistic Director Carola Zertuche, they fuse Flamenco with live electronic music, violin, and electric guitar played by amazing musicians. Other guest artists include guitarist Juani de la Isla, singer Diego Amador Hijo, and electronic musician Pascual Martinez.

The vibrant concert marks the company's 54th home season and was inspired by Zertuche's 2021 trip to Jordan in 2021.

In her words, "Visiting the Wadi Rum Desert, especially, was one of the most incredible experiences of my life: peaceful energy surrounded me like an inexplicable force. I felt the sensation — with the light, the endless red sand, the stars clear in the night sky — that time had ceased to exist, that everything was perfect, that anything could happen. Flamenco, to me, also has that inexplicable energy, and I'd like the audience to feel those same emotions, even if just for the hour and fifteen minutes of the show."

Adrian Santana  

This is Santana's debut with the company. Although he has been wildly received by audiences all over the world, this is his first time performing in San Francisco. He spoke with the Bay Area Reporter about his dancing.

Laura Moreno: One of the best things I ever did was study beginning Flamenco. What is the secret to great Flamenco dancing?
Adrian Santana: The secret for me is first of all to be born with the gift, art appreciation and then to dedicate endless hours to preparing and training yourself well in all its disciplines. And to have a good basis to later be able to use all that knowledge and technique to put them at the service of your art and the heart of each artist, and from there to bring your personality to Flamenco.

What do you love best about Flamenco?
If I have to choose, I identify myself very much with the Soleá. I like to do it with castanets and also with the Taranto, they are two of the flamenco "palos" that I think that my personality identifies me the most.

How long have you been dancing? How did you start?
I've been dancing all my life. That's what my mom tells me. My family always danced since I was born. I started to train as a dancer at age seven with my teacher, Pepito Vargas, and at the Professional Dance Conservatory of Malaga, my hometown.

I very much enjoyed watching your incredible dance moves to incredibly good music in the videos. Do the musicians and you improvise parts of the performance, as in jazz, or is it all choreographed in advance?
Thank you very much for your words, I am very happy that you liked the videos you have seen, although flamenco is not made for the screens. In my opinion, it is very cold. Flamenco has to be seen live. I totally agree!

Well, yes, there is a lot of improvisation, especially in the world of Tablao. There is nothing written or rehearsed from the moment you start until you finish. It is pure improvisation, singing, guitar and dance.

Do you still teach online Flamenco classes? Can anyone join your class?
The online classes have been my latest challenge in these two years since the pandemic. I continue with online classes and I have a lot of material stored in the library to offer it to anyone who is interested and wants to study with me. I have techniques for dancing with gowns, shawls, castanets, fans, body technique, and choreography for anyone who wants to contact me. I am happy to hear from people who want to be new students and will send the material that best suits your needs.

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco presents 'Transitar por un Mundo sin Tiempo (Passage through a Timeless World),' May 13, 8pm at the Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave. $25-$55.

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