World Arts West
SF Ethnic Dance Festival


La Tania Baile Flamenco

GENRE: Flamenco (Farruca)
First Appearance in SF EDF: 2013

La Tania Baile Flamenco was formed in 2009. In 2006, La Tania, after touring for many years with the company she previously founded—La Tania Flamenco Music and Dance—decided to settle in the Bay Area and establish a school. As part of that school, La Tania looks to develop professional local dancers. La Tania Baile Flamenco presents professional presentations as well as yearly student recitals.


GENRE: Flamenco (Farruca)
TITLE: Tierra
La Tania, Gina Giammanco, Lea Kobeli
Roberto Aguilar (guitar), Tregar Otton (violin)

Three female flamenco dancers—including award-winning choreographer La Tania—perform Tierra, a traditional men’s dance known as farruca. As in all flamenco forms, the dance and music of farruca are unified. The dance is austere, somber, and dramatic, with simple and stoic lines, and a strong, dignified stance. The music is also unadorned, played on guitar and violin with no singing, no handclapping, and no percussion.

The dancers’ footwork is the only percussive element. Its sharp and furious beat elaborates on intricate rhythms, and marks la farruca’s ever-changing tempo.

Flamenco is an art form from southern Spain, with three main elements: cante is song, baile is dance, and la guitarra provides the melody. Much mystery surrounds flamenco’s origins, as it was not until the 18th century that the form became known to the general public. It was born in a region dominated by diverse cultures and civilizations over the centuries, including seven centuries of Muslim rule. Its roots are said to be from Spanish Moors, Spain’s Roma people, and the popular songs and dances of Andalusia. The art developed during flamenco’s Golden Age (1869-1910) in southern Spain’s cafes, known as cantantes. There it found its definitive form, including the cante jondo, or deep song, a serious form expressing deep feelings. The farruca music is in a somber 4/4, the only flamenco form wholly in minor mode.

Flamenco is a continuously evolving art form, where dancers and choreographers develop unique styles; some keeping close to tradition, and some pushing boundaries, adding contemporary elements. In the 1940’s, Carmen Amaya danced the farruca and marked women’s emancipation in the flamenco world, and women have continued to dance this form ever since. La Tania is the choreographer of today’s performance, setting Tierra for our stage. She created this piece to widen her company’s already broad understanding of flamenco forms—to experience a style that is more masculine in nature. The dancers  follow tradition by wearing the men’s high waist pants (traje corto) and a full-sleeved blouse.

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