Carmen “La Talegona”
Carmen “La Talegona”
Credit: © Ariel Guevara

Knowhere is an electrifying concert of new works highlighting the extraordinary students in the University of New Mexico Department of Theatre and Dance featuring cutting edge choreography in flamenco and contemporary dance from international guest artists and UNM’s distinguished resident faculty, Feb. 26 through March 6 in Rodey Theatre.

With choreography by Donna Jewell, Javier Latorre, Valeriano Paños, Vladimir Conde Reche, Tomaž Simatović and Carmen “La Talegona,” the annual faculty dance concert is the highlight of the UNM dance season.

UNM continues to garner national attention for its unparalleled program in flamenco dance. Knowhere features works by three visiting flamenco artists who developed these works while in residence at UNM. Fandango is an original work choreographed by Valeriano Paños for 12 dancers from the UNM’s flamenco concentration in the spring of 2015. Set to a late-18th century, pre-flamenco composition of Fandango by Santiago de Murcia, this dance uses contemporary Spanish and flamenco dance vocabulary to take the performer and the audience into an introspective world, combining both old and new.

"To a late-18th century composition, I have composed an abstract choreography with dance vocabulary from the 21st century," Panos said. "This type of pre-flamenco music is emblematic of the style of works created by the Estevez/Paños Company over the last 10 years, for their own company as well as for other artists. I find this musical universe an ideal and perfectly supportive place that allows me to fantasize, amalgamating the various genres of dance that I move in as a performer and choreographer, allowing me to create with freedom that is true and pure.”

Omega, by Javier Latorre, is part of a three-section work in homage to Enrique Morente, one of the most influential singers in the development of “cante flamenco. Latorre created this work while in residence at UNM in the Fall of 2015. Latorre said, “two musical recordings are joined by a granaína-rondeña that is my small tribute to the Encinias family which I offer with affection, respect and admiration on both an artistic and personal level for the great work that they are doing and for the opportunity to spend an incredible month with magnificent students and people. My wish is that both the public and the performers enjoy seeing and dancing the work as much as I enjoyed creating it.” The work is emblematic of Latorre’s choreographic style that is at once lyrical and flamenco. Latorre is possibly flamenco’s most prolific choreographer. Latorre is a celebrated bailarín flamenco, meaning that he is one of the few classically trained Spanish dancers considered a true flamenco.

Talegoneando is choreographed by Carmen “La Talegona” who is known for her emotional and cutting interpretation of flamenco. Talegoneando is a farruca choreographed for eight dancers. Dancers of la farruca, whether male or female, traditionally wear clothing used for horse riding, either the cropped riding skirt or the iconic high waisted pant with elaborate vest and jacket called the “traje corto.” These costumes are elaborate and elegant, yet their simplicity brings emphasis to the line and beauty of the body.

Fandango is an original work choreographed by Valeriano Paños for 12 dancers from the UNM’s flamenco concentration in the spring of 2015.

The dance typically has fast turns, quick intense footwork, sustained lifts and falls, dramatic poses, abrupt tempo changes, and bursts of filigrana (created with the legs and the use of the hand). The dancers in Talegoneando play the castanets in the unique style of Carmen “La Talegona.” Each semester, visiting guest artists such as Paños, Latorre, and Carmen “La Talegona” teach special topics and workshops in flamenco dance, designed to enhance students’ depth of knowledge and range of skills. 

Described as a “sensational and physical blast of pure dancing, which aims to deliver a dancing experience, resembling that quirky, perhaps awkward, but nevertheless awesome feeling of being in love,” if i could only reach you is a contemporary work by guest choreographer Tomaž Simatović set to "Breakthru" by Queen. Dancing in if I could only reach you will be Mariah Baker, Ariel Burge, Sonia Engman, Liz Groth, Jamie Hayman, Roxana Jian, Michelle Kassmann, Samantha Katz, Betheny Lawson, Madrone Matishak, Kelsey Paschich, Elysia Pope, Shaylee Stockham, Ysabela Trujillo and Kellie Walsh.

Tomaž Simatović, (from Slovenia/Austria) is a choreographer, performance artist and a passionate traveller. He is attracted to the ‘emotionality of rawness,' which represents his appreciation for simplicity in a world of wealth and material abundance. His research in choroegraphy is driven by the idea that sound is the energy that moves us. His most resonant works are strongly related to sound, most are with live music, and scenes representing ‘the artist at work’. His practice has been presented in Europe, USA and Eastern Asia, in performances, lectures, workshops, and writing. Currently he lives in Salzburg where he is a member of tanz_house, and teaches ‘dance as practice’ in the context of ‘elementary music and dance pedagogy’ at the Mozarteum Universität/Carl-Orff-Institut.

Head of Dance, Donna Jewell’s new work, Superior Temporal (slightly higher up and off to the side) is a duet for Kelsey Paschich and Vladimir Conde Reche. The piece investigates how humans interfere with each other, and that this interaction can be both enhancing and destructive. With an original score by Kevin Paul of industrial, rhythmic elements with underpinnings of lyricism, the solo explores the drama inherent when the human body moves through space.

The concert’s artistic director, Vladimir Conde Reche, choreographs Search for the Silver Lining, set to an original score by UNM music student Mathew Arrelin with physicality that abstractly portrays the struggle to search for the silver lining in all scenarios. “The physicality of this work,” says Reche, “with its solos, duets and group scenarios abstractly portray the current state of life of people populating our present and future times, with hope and challenges.” Dancers include Mariah Baker, Molly Cudia, Sonia Engman, Madrone Matishak, Julie Mclure, Shaylee Stockham, Kellie Walsh, and Kendra Williams.

Performances of Knowhere are Feb. 26, 27 and March 3, 4, 5 at 7:30 pm and Feb. 28 and March 6 at 2 p.m. in Rodey Theatre, located in the Center for the Arts on UNM’s main campus. Ticket prices are $15 general admission, $12 UNM faculty / seniors, and $10 UNM staff & all students. Tickets are available at the UNM Ticket Offices located at the UNM Bookstore, Central and Cornell, or the Arena (The Pit), University and Avenida Caesar Chavez, and by calling (505) 925-5858. Tickets may also be purchased online.  

More information is available online or by calling the theatre office at (505) 277-4332.