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UCLA Live to Bring Spanish Flamenco Icon Sara Baras

UCLA Live to Bring Spanish Flamenco Icon Sara Baras

"Neither a purist nor a modernizer," Baras returns to UCLA with "Sabores" at Royce Hall Feb. 21-22.

Date: January 18, 2007
Contact: Karen Nelson ( krnelson@arts.ucla.edu )
Phone: 310-794-4044

UCLA Live presents the return of Spain's Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras in the Los Angeles premiere of "Sabores" (Flavors), showcasing flamenco's many styles and moods. Renowned for her thunderous footwork, commanding presence and sophisticated elegance, Sara Baras is a modern flamenco icon and Spain's most popular dancer. "Sabores," dedicated to Baras' mother, Concha, invites a tasting of flamenco flavors and is presented to live music performed by an expert ensemble. The company will appear for two evenings only, with performances beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 21 and 22, at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. The program runs approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes with no intermission. For tickets, visit http://www.uclalive.org, call (310) 825-2101 or contact Ticketmaster.

Baras, this generation's emerging queen of flamenco, is neither a purist nor a modernizer. An ultimate and classy showman, she has streamlined her version of flamenco, trading frilly dresses and accoutrements for a sleeker silhouette, yet retaining the clarity of traditional dance styles. Her intensity and flashing footwork stunned East Coast audiences during her 2003 U.S. debut at the World Music Flamenco Festival, and Los Angeles audiences thronged to her fiery West Coast debut at UCLA Live in January 2005.

"Sabores" is the finale in Baras' triology of full-evening flamenco concert-recitals that began with "Sensaciones" in 1998 and continued with "Sueños" in 1999. Baras has described the trilogy as "a piece without a story in which I could dance many flamenco styles, without any kind of embellishment."

The "Sabores" program, like the others, highlights traditional dances for Baras, her soloists and a small ensemble, interspersing musical numbers with dances whose titles describe their form — bolero, tango, taranto, martinete, bulería, etc. The evening begins intimately with the artists mingling as if backstage and picks up steam as the musicians emerge and Baras enters with her dance corps. Later, José Serrano and Luis Ortega, the two compelling guest soloists and choreographers, join her for "A Fuego Lennto," a fierce challenge with hurling arms, and other solos. Tightly choreographed works contrast with more reflective or abstract numbers.

The Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras dancers feature Alicia Fernández, Cecilia Gómez, Ana González, Charo Pedraja and María Vega in the female corps and Raúl Fernández, José Galán, David Martín, Raúl Prieto and Daniel Saltares in the male corps.

The live music ensemble includes conductor José María Bandera, who also plays guitar with Mario Montoya and José Carlos Gómez; vocalists Miguel de la Tolea and Saúl Quirós; Antonio Suárez on percussion; and José Amador Goñi on violin. For "Bolero," the opening piece, additional recorded music is added, featuring harmonica, strings and a female vocalist.

Sara Baras began studying dance at age 8 with Concha Baras, her mother and first dance teacher. They lived in the windy Spanish coastal town of Cádiz, where the local flamenco draws duende, or soul-force, from the city's mix of loneliness and exuberance. After winning first prize in a Spanish television contest at 18, she joined Manuel Morao's company, sharing the stage with flamenco greats such as Enrique Morente, Javier Barón, Paco Peña, Merche Esmeralda, El Güito and Antonio Canales. In 1998, Baras established her own company, Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras, creating the works "Sensaciones," "Sueños," "Juana la Loca (Vivir por Amor)" and the acclaimed "Mariana Pineda" (loosely based on Federico García Lorca's play of the same name).

Baras, who recently had a record-breaking five-month run in Madrid, has won numerous awards for dancing and choreography, including the prestigious Premio Nacional de Danza from Spain's Ministry of Culture in 2003 for "Mariana Pineda" and the Premio Max de las Artes Escénicas, which she has won on two occasions — once for Best Female Interpreter of Dance and once for Best Dance Work and Best Choreography. She also won the Critics' Prize and the Public's Prize at the Flamenco Festival of Jerez. In addition, Baras opened the Cádiz Carnival in February 2001, an honor reserved for only the most popular figures, and in 2002, she was named the "Face of Andalusia."

Tickets to Ballet Flamenco Sara Baras are available for $70, $52, $42 and $30 at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at the southwest corner of the James West Alumni Center, online at http://www.uclalive.org and at all Ticketmaster outlets. For more information or to charge by phone, call (310) 825-2101. UCLA students may purchase tickets in advance for $17. Student rush tickets, subject to availability, are offered at the same price are to all students with a valid ID one hour prior to showtime.

These performances are supported by the José Luis Nazar Endowment for the Performing Arts, with additional support from the Tourist Office of Spain.

An internationally acclaimed producer and presenter of music, dance, theater and spoken word, UCLA Live brings hundreds of outstanding and provocative artists to Los Angeles each year.

-UCLA-

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