NEW MEXICO IS FLAMENCO’S BEAUTIFUL, passionate stage. Since its founding in 1982, the National Institute of Flamenco, in Albuquerque, has spotlighted and elevated this traditional Spanish art form, by drawing artists from around the world for its annual Festival Flamenco Alburquerque, offering courses in flamenco arts at its conservatory, and training its professional repertory company, Yjastros (the only U.S. group invited to perform at the Festival de Jerez, in Spain).
“Everywhere flamenco touches, it takes on the essence of the people,” says Vicente Griego, a flamenco singer and longtime member of the National Institute of Flamenco. “You can only see New Mexico flamenco in New Mexico. It has its own vibe of how important the family is.”
That’s especially true for the Encinias family. Eva Encinias founded the institute, following in the dance steps of her mother, Clarita García de Aranda, and grandmother, Juanita Lopez, a resadora. Thanks to their efforts, world-class venues now host weekly performances featuring flamenco artists with distinctive styles.
Intimate flamenco shows have enlivened El Farol restaurant on Santa Fe’s Canyon Road since its opening in the 1960s. In Albuquerque, Tablao Flamenco curates a flamenco experience featuring artists from Spain and the United States at the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town. It includes a four-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Richard Padilla.
“When you see the way we communicate on stage, we are not performing, we are living our lives,” Griego says. “We are maintaining our culture and that is what makes New Mexico flamenco so important.”