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A Palo Seco to bring family-friendly flamenco dance workshop to Flushing Town Hall

A Palo Seco
A Palo Seco, a New York-based flamenco company, aims to expose people to an innovative way of looking at flamenco, combining traditional techniques with a modern, metropolitan flair. (Photo by Angelica Escoto)

After more than a two-year postponement due to the pandemic, the popular A Palo Seco Flamenco Company will finally take the stage at Flushing Town Hall with a family-friendly production full of vibrant dance, live music and emotion on Saturday, May 14. 

A Palo Seco’s artistic director and choreographer Rebeca Tomás will begin the afternoon event with an interactive dance workshop for audience members at 1 p.m. introducing the basic techniques and sounds of flamenco music, dance and general body and rhythmic awareness. The session will be followed by a lively, not-to-be-missed performance at 2:15 p.m. 

“I am thrilled to be sharing my passion for flamenco with the diverse population of Queens at Flushing Town Hall, presenting and teaching the intricacies of the rhythm, music and dance from southern Spain to audiences of all ages,” Tomás said. 

“A Palo Seco” is a phrase that refers to a bare-bones style of flamenco music, often consisting of singing or percussion alone. This stripped-down aesthetic has become a central theme in the choreography, characterizing Tomás’ biggest departures from tradition, while also rooting her work in the emotional rawness that lies at the heart of the art of flamenco. Specifically, the workshop introduces participants to zapateo (footwork), braceo (armwork) and palmas (rhythmic hand-clapping). Families with children of all ages will discover how to play castanets before the session culminates with a dance combination that ends with an energetic “olé!” 

Following the workshop audiences will enjoy a high-energy performance of music and dance that intermixes explanations and interactive exercises for the audience to learn more about the history and geography of southern Spain.

A Palo Seco, a New York-based flamenco company, strives to develop a unique voice, employing their Flamenco expertise, while also taking into account the context in which they live. Their work aims to expose people to an innovative way of looking at Flamenco, combining traditional techniques with a modern, metropolitan flair. 

The company debuted its first production in May 2010 at Theatre 80 St. Marks in Manhattan. 

Tomás has been described as “awesomely fiery” by The New York Times and as “a postcard image of the feminine Flamenco dancer” by Kansas City Metropolis. She toured for years with such companies as Noche Flamenca and Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana before founding A Palo Seco Flamenco Company. 

For her choreographic work, Tomás has received support from Arts Westchester, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Jerome Foundation and Connecticut Office of the Arts, and was awarded a fellowship in choreography by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) in 2013 and 2019. 

Tomás and her company have performed throughout the U.S. at venues such as the Central Park SummerStage, (le) Poisson Rouge, Jacob’s Pillow, the Chicago Flamenco Festival, Eastman School of Music’s World Music Series, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund at the Pocantico Center and in the New Victory Theater’s “Victory Dance Festival” in July 2018.

You can catch a sample of A Palo Seco’s colorful and vibrant work here.

In-person tickets to the performance are $12 and $8 for members and children. The show will also be livestreamed to virtual audiences for free. In-person tickets to the pre-show workshop are $5 and $3 for members and children. Tickets can be purchased at flushingtownhall.org or by calling 718-463-7700 ext. 222.

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