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Some of Spain’s finest dancers and musicians will perform the dances of legendary choreographer Carlota Santana as her company kicks off Lafayette’s Footlights series 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Williams Center for the Arts.

Tickets for the performance are free for students, $4 for faculty and staff, and $25 for the public. They can be obtained by calling the Williams Center box office at (610) 330-5009.

Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana also will present a master class on the fundamentals of flamenco for students and staff noon Tuesday at the Williams Center for the Arts main stage. In addition, also will give classes for the College Choir led by Nina Gilbert, helping it prepare for its January performance tour in Spain, and the Kirkland Village retirement community in Bethlehem.

Other events in Footlights are Ben Munisteri Dance Projects, featuring the headlining group at this summer’s season-opening gala at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Wednesday, Nov. 9, $18; Rennie Harris Puremovement, presenting an autobiographical homage to the legends of hip-hop, Saturday, Feb. 4, $20; and North Carolina Dance Theatre: Under Southern Skies, with The Greasy Beans and Christine Kane, Wednesday, March 22, $22. Asubscription to Footlights costs $69, a savings of $16 compared to buying an individual ticket for each performance.

The fiery and soulful traditions of Spanish dance anchor Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana, with bold creative touches to broaden the emotional language of the form for audiences of all tastes and backgrounds. The New York Times describes the group’s artistry as “an infectiously joyful celebration of music and dance,” while The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called a performance“no-holds-barred flamenco…These dancers broke open like flames dancing along the stage, with outright fireworks for the tableaux finale.”

Santana was designated “The Keeper of Flamenco” by Dance Magazine, recognizing her commitment to creating new works and developing young artists and choreographers. Under her direction, the company has expanded its repertoire by presenting new music, dramatic works, and a mixture of various dance vocabularies, as well as by integrating Hispanic-American influences. Recent creations include Bailes de Ida y Vuelta, a journey through Latin America showing how flamenco has been influenced by Caribbean, Latino, and Afro-Latino sounds; Bailaor/Bailaora, a dazzling display of flamenco styles; the contemporary flamenco story-ballet Mano a Mano, a tribute to the bullfighter Manolete; and Federico, a celebration of the life of Federico García Lorca. Each has been performed to great acclaim at The Joyce Theater in 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, and 1998 respectively.

Santana began her career with María Alba Spanish Dance Company and continued performing in the United States as a soloist with José Molina, Roberto Cartagena, and Rosario Galán. In Spain, she performed at Tablao Arcos de Cuchilleros and worked with such masters as Carmen Mora, Paco Fernández, La Tati, and Ciro. Through a grant from the U.S.-Spain Joint Committee for Educational and Cultural Exchange, she worked in Seville with renowned artist Manuela Carrasco. Her independent work has been most strongly influenced aesthetically by her mentors María Alba in New York and Carmen Mora in Madrid.

Santana created Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana’s innovative arts-in-education program, integrating Spanish dance and culture with the school curriculum, and has traveled widely implementing this program. The company has also created, in conjunction with Lincoln Center Institute, an arts education performance piece entitled Inesperanza, as well as the popular Amigos Españoles, a young person’s exciting journey through Spain.

Santana is on the panel for the New York State Council on the Arts and has served on the panel for the National Endowment for the Arts. She is on the faculty of Duke University and has taught at Long Island and New York universities. She is a recent recipient of a choreographer fellowship from the North Carolina Arts Council and is a member of the board of directors of Arts North Carolina. Under her artistic direction, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana has performed at Lincoln Center, The Joyce Theater, The New Victory Theater, Summerdance Santa Barbara, Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, Van Wezel Performing Arts Center in Sarasota, Universidad Bucaramanga in South America, Palacio de Congresos in Granada, Spain, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art, among many, many others.

Based in New York City, Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana was founded in 1983 as the Spanish Dance Arts Company by Roberto Lorca and Santana with the mission of breaking boundaries between cultures using the universal spirit of flamenco. The first performances of the company were at The Alternative Museum in Soho, and were directed by Robert Browning. For its first three years, the company’s third principal dancer, along with Lorca and Santana, was Melinda Marquez.

Since Lorca’s death in 1987, the company has continued to grow and flourish under Santana’s direction. She has actively encouraged creativity and innovation in the young dancers, choreographers, and musicians while maintaining high artistic standards and keeping the company faithful to the powerful traditions of flamenco. She has further developed the company toward its original goal of bridging cultures through extensive community outreach, exciting arts-in-education programs, and powerful performances for a variety of audiences from diverse backgrounds. The purity of its work and its unique and creative ways of enriching its art form distinguish the company.

The nationally recognized Performance Series at Lafayette attracts more than 10,000 people each season. It has been cited for performing excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, Chamber Music America, Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund, Pennsylvania Arts and Humanities Councils, and Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

The 2005–2006 Performance Series is supported in part by gifts from Friends of the Williams Center for the Arts; by provisions of the Alan and Wendy Pesky Artist-in-Residence Program, the James Bradley Fund, and the Ed Brunswick Jazz Fund; and by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, Pennsylvania Performing Arts on Tour, the Dexter and Dorothy Baker Foundation, and New England Foundation for the Arts.

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