Living flamenco legend Sara Baras returns to New York City with a love letter to flamenco’s origins. “Alma” (Soul) is an evening-length showcase of propulsive footwork, formidable musicianship, and unforgettable performances.
Flamenco Festival New York City Center 2023
“Alma” blends traditional flamenco with bolero rhythms. The Afro-Cuban percussion in the photo, suggests the blend is with Cuban bolero, the blending of Spanish and American traditions.
At New York City Center in Midtown, Manhattan; Thursday-Sunday, March 23-26, 2023. From $35. Thursday-Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm. GET TICKETS nycitycenter.org
The Flamenco Festival New York 2023 is sponsored by:
with major support for dance at New York City Center by the Howard Gilman Foundation and Ford Foundation.
Watching Sara Baras perform on the New York City Center stage in 2015, we understood what is “duende,” and why audiences love performing arts.
“Duende” is Flamenco Spirit
Dancing with duende flamenco is dancing with flamenco spirit. It’s a form of relaxed concentration that all kinds of dancers understand. It’s dancing like no one is watching, dancing like you are possessed. It’s dancing with God (in whatever way you understand that), or the forces of nature. It’s dancing with the universe.
Flamenco dancers call it duende. In the Caribbean, it’s dancing in a trance, which is considered a great honor. Turkish whirling dervishes spin to connect with the love of God. Rumi, the great Persian love poet, said, ” All loves are a bridge to divine love.” Many creatives call it “flow.” Some Americans spend lots of money looking for flow. You can get it for free by dancing or even watching people dance.
Whether you are in duende, saintly possession, in love, or in flow, you may find yourself excelling at things that you never did before, that you don’t even know how to do, you just do them. It’s like a superpower.
Great artists like Sara Baras practice this constantly, so they are able to find the duende at will.
Why Audiences Love Performing Arts
One of the ways humans understand each other is what some call bonding and rapport. By subtly mimicking another’s physical expressions, we understand their emotion state. We all do it naturally. Salespeople do it intentionally to connect with you before a sale.
When Sara Baras performs, she calls the duende and dances in that trance state of relaxed concentration. She is opening herself to the universal spirit, whatever that is.
Meanwhile, the audience is subconsciously mimicking her. Her opening causes the audience to open like a flower in the morning. Opening feels good. It’s what happens when you are happy, free, in love, hugging, dancing, having a baby or nursing one.
This is why audiences love the performing arts. We have a transcendental experience which leaves us full, happy and satisfied. Watching Sara Baras and her company perform “Alma” (Soul), you just might find yourself touched by the duende. Don’t miss this.