BOCO Flamenco Is Back in the Spotlight for Second Annual Spring Festival | Westword

BOCO Flamenco Is Back in the Spotlight for Second Annual Spring Festival

Put on your dancing shoes for four days of nonstop festivities, including live flamenco performances, guitar and dance workshops, and special culinary events.
World-famous flamenco dancer Antonio Canales taking the stage for bows at last year's BOCO Flamenco Spring Festival alongside his son, Antonio Gomez.
World-famous flamenco dancer Antonio Canales taking the stage for bows at last year's BOCO Flamenco Spring Festival alongside his son, Antonio Gomez. Courtesy of BOCO Flamenco
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BOCO Flamenco Spring Festival returns this week with multi-day convergence of music, movement and celebration focusing on the avant-garde. Husband-and-wife duo Antonio and Andrea Gomez founded the Colorado nonprofit in 2022, driven by a desire to provide cultural touchstones for the local community. After the success of last year's inaugural event, BOCO Flamenco is expanding its reach, with bigger venues, more workshops and new collaborations with other local businesses.

Flamenco is deeply personal for Antonio Gomez, who comes from a long line of performing artists in Seville, Spain; his father is the legendary flamenco dancer and international superstar Antonio Canales. Throughout his lengthy career, and particularly in the 1980s and 1990s, Canales transformed the art form and brought it to a global audience on a massive scale. Canales’s work is widely celebrated, and his influence on the genre endures.

Growing up Cuban-Nicaraguan in Miami, Andrea had a similar call to express herself through dance. When she discovered flamenco at the age of six, she says she tapped into a fierce confidence. Enthralled, Andrea studied flamenco for years, taking workshops, traveling to Spain, and even earning a BA in flamenco from the University of New Mexico.

The pair's parallel journeys converged when they met at a flamenco festival in Albuquerque in 2015, while Antonio was managing his father’s tour. The two felt an instant connection, kept in touch, and began dating a few years later. Now living in Boulder County, they are married, with two young girls and a baby boy on the way. The Gomezes also have a Spanish restaurant, Farra, in Lyons.
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The Gomezes with their daughters.
Courtesy of BOCO Flamenco
“Flamenco is a way of life, a way of expressing sadness, joy, real life,” Antonio reflects. Given the profound impact flamenco continues to have on their lives, he and Andrea want to create similar experiences for others.

To kick of the festival on March 4, BOCO Flamenco will be taking over the Rayback Collective in Boulder for a free performance led by Latin Grammy-winning musician Rycardo Moreno. Attendees can learn about flamenco, meet like-minded peers and mingle with the festival artists. (For more time with Moreno, sign up for his 11 a.m. guitar workshops on Tuesday, March 5, and Wednesday, March 6, at Farra.)

Tuesday's lineup includes a special free show at Boulder’s Casey Middle School, known for its significant Hispanic student body and bilingual program. This performance is for the students and parents, in celebration of the school’s 100-year anniversary. Andrea notes how integral the arts are for young kids to experience: “It brings your shoulders back, you put your arms up, you stomp. You’re like, ‘Here I am. These are my values. This is my voice.’ It gives you dignity and power.”

On Wednesday, the Gomezes will incorporate their popular restaurant into the program. This intimate dinner at Farra will be a way to introduce the visiting artists to the warmth and generosity of the people of Lyons, with a tasting menu, special performances, and tales of Antonio’s childhood memories of growing up in a community of artists in his father’s dance company.

The fest will culminate on Thursday in a collaborative performance, Color Sin Nombre, at the Boulder Theater. This monumental showcase of flamenco dance will be led by world-renowned dancer and choreographer José Maya. Born in Spain, Maya built his repertoire alongside prolific artists such as Antonio’s father, as well as Juan Ramírez and Joaquín Grilo. Eventually, he skyrocketed to international recognition, collaborating with the likes of Marc Anthony and Beyoncé.

This particular piece incorporates eight spectacular paintings by Mark Rothko, with music by Moreno (guitar), Delia Membrive (vocals) and David Dominguez (drums). Andrea explains that in a live flamenco performance, the rhythmic complexities between dancers, musicians and vocalists provide a master class in communication. (For those looking for more active participation, Maya will offer flamenco workshops from 10 a.m. to noon. at the Dairy Arts Center in Boulder on Tuesday, March 5, and Myama Dance Studio in Lyons on Wednesday, March 6.)

The festival will close out with a celebratory after-party at Antonio’s old stamping grounds — Corrida in downtown Boulder, where he previously worked as general manager. Swing by at 9 p.m. or later for a lively night of delicious bites and pumping tunes courtesy of DJ Musa. Guests who present their ticket from Color Sin Nombre will get a free sangria at the bar. The after-party is a way for everyone to let out the week's pent-up energy at a night of unabashed reverie and spectacular company, Antonio says.

BOCO Flamenco is on a mission to uphold the quality and authenticity of the dance without serving as gatekeeper, because the universal experience of resonating with a piece of culture is invaluable, the organizers say. Not everyone can travel to Spain, they note, and those who can may not have experts to guide them through the expansive history of flamenco. To have this nonprofit foster a more interconnected and enriched community in Colorado is the ultimate dream, they say.

“Poco a poco,” Antonio laughs. “Little by little.”

BOCO Flamenco’s Spring Festival runs from Monday, March 4, through Thursday, March 7. Visit the website for tickets to guitar and dance workshops and the closing-night showcase at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at Boulder Theater, 2032 14th Street, Boulder. Follow @bocoflamenco on instagram for general news and updates.
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