The art of Flamenco in the heart of Astoria
by Lisa A. Fraser
Mar 30, 2011 | 3641 views | 0 0 comments | 45 45 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Photo by Dimas Motta
Gabriela Granados hails from Iquitos, Peru but Spain lives in her heart. Most of the time she lives, breathes and performs the classic Spanish Flamenco dance.

Ever since she discovered dancing at the age of 4 when she would always get up and move every time her piano teacher played a number, she knew she had to make it her life. Since those early days. she decided after college to study the Flamenco.

“You have to embrace it because it is a lifestyle,” she said. “You have to love what you do and be realistic about your ability to compete.”

After studying the dance in Spain, Granados moved back to the U.S where she had first immigrated to from Peru. In 2002, after working at a ballet company in the city, she decided to open the American Bolero Dance Company.

The school, located in Astoria, offers classes for children and adults. It teaches ballet and different styles of flamenco including the folkloric dances.

“The purpose of our classes is to create and give students a vocabulary that we use to interpret the Escuela Bolera,” she said. The Escuela Bolera is a type of dance that began in Castile Spain in the 18th Century and evolved. From the waist down it’s ballet. From the waist up it’s flamenco. And Granados notes it’s a dying art form.

The classes are offered in a very laid-back and encouraging environment.

“The adults need to forget everything and have a moment for themselves when they come into my class,” Granados said. “That helps them to learn to move gracefully, with rhythm.”

In between the adults learning the art of the Flamenco, Granados puts on a show each spring showcasing the local and international talent. Modeled after the Tablaos clubs in Spain, Granados created Tablao Flamenco a few years ago.

The show is a one-of-a-kind display where the audience enjoys a table seat while the dancers, Granados included, perform. This Friday, April 1, the next showing will include two numbers by her.

Each Tablao Flamenco show is structured by four pillars. First the dancers: On April 1st, the La Argentinita dancers, who possess elements of the Tango infused with the Flamenco, will perform along with singers Alfonzo Cid and Aurora Reyes, and guitarists Basilio Georges and Cristian Puig. One anticipated dancer, Juan Siddi, is set to perform in the June showing.

Audiences should never expect the same show twice, notes Granados.

She is proud to have a show like it in Queens, in the heart of Astoria.

But Granados has plans to take the show to different boroughs soon, even though she is glad to have made her start in Queens.

“Queens is a good place to be. A lot of people here support what I do,” she said.

This spring’s Tablao Flamenco has already begun on March 5th.

The next showing is April 1st at 8:30 p.m. In case that show is sold out - as is normally the case - you can catch upcoming performances on May 6 and June 3.

For more information about the dance company, visit www.ambolero.com
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