Those only casually familiar with flamenco may think of it primarily as a dance, yet that’s only one piece of the whole; at its heart, flamenco is Spain’s traditional folk music, which dancer and producer Savannah Fuentes is dedicated to sharing.
Fuentes’ upcoming show, Noches de Invierno (“Winter Nights”), combines her dancing with the voice of renowned flamenco singer Jose Anillo and Bulgarian guitarist Bobby de Sofia for a fully realized flamenco performance. From the road, Fuentes talks about her passion for the art form.
Born in Seattle, Fuentes was raised in a multicultural and artistic home but didn’t find a strong cultural identity until experiencing flamenco. “I felt a sense of pride and identity immediately upon seeing it,” she says.
She learned the art under such notable dancers as Ana Montes and Sara de Luis, and after high school, traveled to Spain. “It was an eye-opener and a culture shock, but it felt really alive. I wish I could go back and do it all over again,” she says.
“Flamenco is something you have to study forever,” says Fuentes. “I still consider myself an eternal student.”
Fuentes studied for years before ever performing, then in 2007 all the stars lined up. Fuentes produced her first show with a singer, and in the time since then, she’s gained a world of experience, going out on the road three or four times a year as a performer, producer, promoter and everything in between.
Noches de Invierno got its start during Fuentes’ last tour, when she first performed with Jose Anillo. She brought the world-renowned singer out from Spain after contacting him when a previous singer fell through.
“It was a big deal for me, because I don’t usually work with someone of his stature,” says Fuentes. “But we all got along together and he said let’s do it again, and here we are,” she laughs. Now Anillo joins Fuentes and guitarist Bobby de Sofia in celebrating the cold winter nights of the holidays with a hot and lively show.
“The most important thing for me is always flamenco singing. People think of it as a dance but it really is singing. That’s the heart and soul of it,” explains Fuentes.
“There’s nothing like it, it’s an emotional experience. I sing at home and in classes, but I don’t sing onstage,” Fuentes says. “I always make sure to get a true flamenco singer like Jose. It’s very specialized, very sacred.”
Savannah Fuentes and Jose Anillo present ‘Noches de Invierno’ on Monday, Dec. 15, at Sebastopol Grange, 6000 Sebastopol Ave., Sebastopol. 7:30pm. $23. 707.573.6049.