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Acclaimed flamenco artist Pilar Rioja will perform an anthology program from various Spanish dance traditions at Lafayette College’s Williams Center for the Arts 8 p.m. Wednesday, September 15. She will be joined by an ensemble of guitarists, singers, and other instrumentalists from New York’s Repertorio Español, where she is currently performing an extended series of programs.

Lafayette students and the public are invited to attend a free presentation by Rioja and her ensemble on flamenco dance and Spanish culture at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, September 16, in the Williams Center theater.

The performance opens the Williams Center’s New Horizons subscription series. The next events will be productions of King Lear and The Iliad by the Aquila Theatre of London on November 12 and 13, respectively. (Subscribers may choose one of the two plays.) Dancer, poet, and musician Meredith Monk will visit on November 16, followed by the Caribbean Dance Company on March 8. Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane alumnus Seán Curran, also of Stomp fame, will present his brilliant young company’s performance of “Folkdance for the Future” on March 25. The price of New Horizons is $60, a savings of $15 compared to the total cost of ordering the events separately. Individual tickets for the Rioja performance are $15 and can be ordered from the Williams Center box office by calling 610-330-5009.

Many critics regard Rioja as the exemplary master of flamenco, her name synonymous with graceful power, elegance of gesture, and dazzling footwork. In her August 16 review of the current show in the

New York Times, Jennifer Dunning wrote, “…so potent is Ms. Rioja’s presence and quiet theatricality that she could probably draw cheers simply by reading the telephone directory on the stage.” Audiences are treated to dances that range from slow to ebullient and fiery, notes Dunning, while taking in “engaging musicians” and “exquisite costumes.”

As the Village Voice has commented, “Rioja is a musically expressive dancer in the tradition of Isadora Duncan, transforming Gypsy flamenco into a personal folk form—a highly communicative choreography that eliminates the space between the onstage diva and the spectator.”

The performance will benefit from spoken commentary by Repertorio Español education director Robert Weber Federico, who will provide context and historic background on each of the dances. Federico has continuously worked in theater since 1970, including stints with The Santa Fe Opera, The Peabody Institute in Baltimore, and Stage West in Massachusetts. He has created sets, lighting, and costumes for nearly 100 productions. He also has served on the theater panel of the New York State Council on the Arts and is a member of the Board of Directors of Art New York.

The 1999-2000 Performance Series at Lafayette College is sponsored, in part, by grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Mid Atlantic Foundation for the Arts.

Categorized in: Academic News