World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


La Fibi Flamenco Dance Company

DANCE ORIGIN: Andalusia, Spain
: Flamenco
Phoebe "La Fibi" Vernier
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2008

Flamenco was born out of the song and suffering of poor communities in Andalusian Spain, people oppressed and marginalized during and after the Spanish Inquisition. Sung by Moorish, Jewish, and Roma settlers (controversially known as Gypsies), the songs were influenced by the music of the Celts, Visigoths, and Byzantines. Flamenco developed gradually, crystallizing into a distinctly Spanish art form in the 18th century. It is now known as a strong and controlled collaboration between singer, guitarist, and dancer. The singer interprets beautiful traditional lyrics and supports the dancer and guitarist with palmas, or handclapping; the guitarist accompanies the singer and drives the dancer; and the dancer lyrically marks the song, punctuating it with footwork.

Artistic Director Phoebe Vernier formed La Fibi Flamenco Dance Company in 2006, out of the love and desire to share the present and traditional folk art of flamenco. In March 2007, the company was voted the “Best Dance Company of 2007 in Sonoma and Marin County” in the North Bay Bohemian newsweekly. This piece was created and choreographed by Phoebe “La Fibi” Vernier, in the fall of 2006.



TITLE: Colombianas
: Kelly Kovanis, Lauren Santibanez, Phoebe "La Fibi" Vernier
MUSICIANS: Kati Mejia (vocals), Alan "Saso" Powell (palmas/percussion), Mark Taylor (guitar), Ruben "El Rompecorazon" Vernier (cajon/percussion), Jason Walter (gothum/percussion)

Colombianas is a modern flamenco form, and its songs are mostly happy, though as in most happy flamenco songs, they are tinged with a bit of melancholy. The style was created and popularized in the 1930s when flamenco singers Pepe Marchena and Hilario Montes, in Seville, worked with Latin American and Caribbean music. This style is also one of three cantes de ida y vuelta, or songs that left and returned. Along with the guajira and rumba, colombianas uses songs that were created in Spain; traveled to Latin America, where they were infused with new rhythms and styles; and were welcomed back to Spain and Spanish flamenco. La Fibi's vibrant costumes—designed and created in Seville’ Spain—evoke the warm and sensual atmosphere of Latin America and the Caribbean. The lyrics of the colombianas song also reflect its “New World” origins—


Serrania del Brazil
Cordillera Mexicana
Tierra de la Amazona
Pamperita de mi alma
Y en mi corazon clavada
Llevo una Colombiana.

Zurcaba la mar bravia,
Y aquel barquito velero
Y en su cubierta
Está dormida la persona que yo quiero,
Ignorante yo creia
Que pensaba en mi, durmiendo.

A ven a mi— cantemos los dos.
Ay que cantando la colombiana
Y asi se pasa la vida major.

Mountains of Brazil
Mexican mountain range.
Land of the Amazon
Pamperita of my soul
Nailed in my heart
I carry a “colombiana”.

Furrowing the stormy sea,
That little sail boat.
On its deck
Is sleeping the person I love.
Naively I believed
That he was thinking of me while he slept.

Come with me—we’ll both sing.
Because singing the colombiana
Life is much better spent.


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