Living in the UK for over twenty years now, Ana Garcia had a remarkable career as a flamenco dancer before going on to create Flamenco Edition, a company that brings high-quality flamenco productions across the UK.
Now producing the fourth Flamenco Edition to cross the regions, Ana has brought over a production called Sinergia starring one of Spain’s most celebrated flamenco dancers Manuel Liñán. I spoke to Ana about the importance of flamenco in Spanish culture and it’s placed in the UK’s dance scene.
“Flamenco is an expression of feelings, we are not telling a specific story, it talks about life and the most important things in life, such as love and loss,” she said. “I always say flamenco is like a cocktail of many different cultures, you put them together and mix them to create this wonderful art form.”
Manuel Liñán won the coveted Premio Nacional de Danza 2017 from Spain’s Ministry of Cultura which is a prize that covers all forms of dance in Spain. “Manuel dances solo in the show accompanied by two beautiful singers and one guitarist,” Ana explained. “The show is about the mixture of different elements that makes Flamenco such an amazing art form. It is very masculine, and just a pure display of flamenco art.”
After dancing flamenco for many years, Ana instantly fell in love with it. “I fell in love with the music and then afterwards I started learning the dance and once I did flamenco, I could never give it up,” Ana expressed. “I noticed that there was a gap in the market because the only good flamenco coming to the UK was only coming to London and I wanted to bring it to other cities.
“I only do small and medium scale theatres, as I think it gets a bit lost in the bigger theatres, but something more intimate is much more interesting. Even in London they always do it in Sadlers Wells as opposed to the smaller venues. Also, it’s great to give the opportunity to the companies in Spain to come to the UK and visit other cities and other audiences, opposed to just London.”
Alongside her work for Flamenco Edition, Ana teaches flamenco at Elmhurst Ballet School in Birmingham. “It is really lovely working with the young dancers and giving them something different to dance,” she said. “They do a lot of ballet and I teach them flamenco which is totally a different language for them. It is so interesting to see their personalities by doing flamenco as they feel free to express themselves. With flamenco, they feel stronger, more mature, more confident and it gives them a great stage presence.”
Flamenco has conquered the world, and everywhere from Japan, to New Zealand to China and more has a flamenco dance scene. “Some people don’t know a lot about it, they think it must be hard to introduce it to other countries but actually there are so many flamenco followers in the UK,” Ana said.
“We always sell out our shows because there is such a demand for authentic first-class flamenco. The British really love it because there are lots of flamenco dance classes in the UK, people really enjoy the strength that flamenco has and it gives them an empowerment.”
Currently touring across the UK, tickets and information for Sinergia can be found online here.