Arte y Pasión; Flamenco in San Antonio!

The Flamenco scene in San Antonio is full of life in 2013. Within the past six months the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and The Little Carver Theatre has hosted large-scale to intimate performances at studios such as Entreflamenco Dance Space and Raices de Arte Espanol dance studio. In addition, weekend performances have continued at Carmen’s de la Calle Café and Espana Bar de Tapas.

Throughout May, Arte y Pasión brought their latest production “Travesuras” (translates as “mischievous pranks”) to several of these venues. Arte y Pasión is an organization that is devoted to spreading the art of Flamenco in the San Antonio area. “I find the audience population here in San Antonio to be both loyal and discerning at the same time. That is to say that the audiences I have encountered in San Antonio are knowledgeable of flamenco and know what is good,” says Tamara Saj, director of Arte y Pasión.

For “Travesuras,” Saj enlisted the help of various musicians from around the world. There was Cristo Cortez from France and Vicente Griego from New Mexico on vocals (or cante), Ricardo Diaz from San Francisco on guitar and Antonio Arrebola and Tamara Saj as principle dancers (baile). Saj and Arrebola give dynamic performances filled with explosive footwork and raw emotion.

“Above all, we are here to produce good flamenco. I enjoy building threads of ideas that weave the production together with a theme or a storyline that expresses a solid idea. Sometimes that means supplementing the flamenco with the written word or with imagery. As such I hope the productions will provoke thought as well as emotion. At the end of the day our goal is to produce and perform a good flamenco show that people will enjoy and remember,” says Saj.

In previous productions Arte y Pasión has included several of San Antonio’s most talented musicians. Saj states, “There is a significant body of musical talent based here in San Antonio, and I have enjoyed collaborating with such guitarists as Jose Perello, Steve Arispe, Brent Del Bianco and a number of additional talented guitarists. Cantaors (vocalists) based in San Antonio include Francisco J. Orozco “Yiyi,” a world class singer and percussionist, and Chayito Champion, who comes from the oldest family in flamenco of San Antonio. The body of talented dancers and choreographers we have in San Antonio from the student to the professional makes the city a rich environment for continued growth in flamenco. San Antonio also boasts the only award-winning flamenco couturier in the region, Lisa Perello.”

Saj continues, “San Antonio has now very much indeed become a destination for world class artistry in flamenco, and you can see a flamenco show much like anything you’d see in Andalucia right here in San Antonio. Arte y Pasión has played a significant role in this phenomenon, having brought artists from Malaga, Marseilles, San Francisco, Madrid, Albuquerque and Sevilla.”

With the performance season winding down, Saj is preparing for future projects stating, “I would like to counterbalance the roots of flamenco with an element of the unexpected and see what happens.” For more information on Tamra Saj, Arte y Pasión and upcoming projects visit