TACHA GONZÁLEZ - La Tacha: Enseñando por Alegrías, 2017. Relief print. 35" x 35"
She was the first woman I ever took a workshop with during Flamenco Festivál. Years later I showed up to another workshop with a matrix and asked if she would do this project with me. She was so accommodating. I actually have a video of her as she taught, marking steps right on the board, then wandering off to engage with the class. And then coming back and marking some more. All of her movements were so casual, so effortless. Many people have said they found the piece relaxing and meditative -- I think that's why.
LUCIA LA PIÑONA - La Piñona: Bailando a la Canción "El Pequeño Reloj" I & II, 2017. Relief print with pressed flowers and stitching. 36" x 120"
Lucia seemed to be the most intentional. She was so inquisitive and curious about the process. She didn't want me to show her photos of what others had done because she didn't want them to intrude on her interpretation. She's a deep thinker, very philosophical, she thinks on such intricate levels which I really appreciated. I went to see her dance and I remember standing all the way across the room from her but she had such reach -- you could be standing a hundred miles away and she could still touch you, like she's right there.
OLGA PERICET - Olga: La Primera Llamada del Taranto I & II, 2017. Relief print, gold leaf. 42" x 48"
Olga was the first artist I worked with. We were rehearsing her choreography in Albuquerque and we went to get a beer and talked about art and the world and life and collaborating. We were three or four weeks into rehearsals when I asked her to do this project, but I was still nervous about what her take on Huellas would be. She was incredibly supportive and sweet. I brought the matrix to UNM and it was nice because she knew exactly what she wanted to do: the primera llamada of her taranto, part of a piece she was preparing to take to New York.
JESUS CARMONA - Jesus: ¡Pues, el YouTube! I & II, 2017. Relief print, gold leaf. 32 1/2" x 52"
Jesus visited with his wife Lucia Campillo in spring, 2017. I was really hoping to see him dance, but he didn't have a contract with the Tablao. So, I went to go see his wife dance. After, I approached him and talked to him about this project I was doing (Huellas) and we made a tentative plan. We were speaking in Spanish and I was having a hard time explaining that seeing him dance was a really important part of my process. Finally, he implored me to just check him out on YouTube: '¡Pues, el YouTube!' In the end I realized that just one conversation was enough for me to get a real sense of the confidence and self-assuredness that makes him such a great dancer.
LA POPI - La Popi: Pasos Sueltos por Bulería, el Principio y el Final Sin Ritmo, 2017. Relief print on silk. 21 1/2" x 73"
Super fun and smiley and sweet. I had a very brief encounter with her. I ran the matrices for her and Adrian up to their rehearsal space. She was very direct and formal about telling me that she danced random 'pasos por buleria, sin ritmo (without rhythm)'. It was amazing, there was no cuadro (group of musicians) around her, but still these dancers are musicians themselves. All of her steps are coming from the rhythm in her brain, which translates her body into music. After seeing her dance at the Tablao I was so in love with the choral-colored, rich, moving, dense fabric she wore that it gave me the inspiration to print on fabric.
ADRIAN SANTANA - Adrian: Inspiración, 2017. Relief print, thread. 25 1/4" x 41"
This was a cool moment. I explained the project to him and he was like 'yeah, cool, let's do it.' I brought him the board and he had this baseball cap on, he'd just come from teaching and he was so serious. His movements were so precise, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. He had this perfect harmony between strength and precision, you could see every muscle contract and release, perfectly articulated. He hopped off the board and he was like 'asi' -- that's it. There were no questions. No indecision. That was it.
I wrote him later, asking him what palo (style) he had used, he said: 'nothing, nada, solo inspiración.' There was a pause, and then suddenly he said 'you know, I think that would be a good title,' and I completely agreed. His piece reflects the symbolism of the torero. Toreros have adapted over the years this very stylistic movement and he embodies that beautifully: from the nuances of his movement, to the aesthetic of his costume.
ELENA OSUNA - Elena: Pasos por Bulería II, 2017. Relief print, thread. 36" x 44 1/4"
Elena is the only Northern New Mexican dancer represented in this show. She is a member of Yjastros, fiercely devoted and dedicated. This woman is busy, busy. She's a full time teacher and dancer and wasn't feeling very well, but she came over to my house and I made her a cup of tea and she probably spent more time with me than anyone. Just playing and experimenting in my living room. It's very symbolic of who she is as a dancer. She's so courageous. She's not afraid to try things that don't work. She just goes again. That's what makes her such a very good representation of Yjastros, of New Mexico, and of what flamenco dance can be outside of Spain.
JOAQUIN, NEVAREZ & JOSELITO ENCINIAS - Joaquin: Dos Generaciones I & II, 2017. Relief print. 33 1/2" x 39 1/2"
Joaquin has such a mathematical mind. He was so methodical in creating a very systematic approach to teaching flamenco in Albuquerque. He has a very intricate and complex, yet, at the same time, simple way of breaking down flamenco and bailes into their component parts, and using repetition to solidify those elements. It's an amazing way of dissecting the dance. Instead of the balsa wood matrices I gave Joaquin and his sons 2x2 pieces of plywood and had them dance the same steps in repetition over a two/three week period. I wanted to see what pasos looked like over time.
NANI PAÑOS y RAFAEL ESTÉVEZ - Nani y Rafael: Silencios and Silencio Doblado, 2017. Relief print. Woven relief print. 41" x 41 1/2"
I've had the privilege to study and rehearse under both of these dancers. Nani and Rafael's choreography is such an innovative mix of flamenco, ballet and modern dance. Nani comes from a more classical school of Spanish dance, while Rafael comes from a more puro Gitano flamenco family. I went over to the house where Nani and Rafael were staying, we talked about the project, and they were so supportive. They told me that what I was doing was flamenco, which felt very special. Since then they've become my biggest allies.
LUCIA CAMPILLO - Lucia: Pasos por Siguiriyas, 2017. Relief print. 42" x 42"
I didn't see her perform until after she'd danced on my matrix. I went to the Tablao for inspiration and to set the mood for the piece. She's sassy and tiny but she dances with so much peso, so much weight. I remember that she didn't wear anything especially sensual, just a black dress. Still, there was something so sexy, and alluring, and seductive about her performance. It was feminine, but playful. I hid some of the flowers under the paper to reflect the way that she played with the audience -- hiding and revealing parts of herself -- very happy and flirtatious and completely sinvirgüenza: unabashedly bold.
EVA ENCINIAS - Eva: Andando I & II, 2017. Relief print with stamping. 20" x 58"
Eva is my flamenco mama. She is the heart and soul of flamenco in New Mexico. She has this boundless energy and love for flamenco as a movement, a history, and a culture. She is fierce. At a very formative age, she single-handedly made me fall in love with flamenco. She started the Festivál Flamenco Internacional de Alburquerque thirty years ago and has been so dedicated to the art form, bringing the best dancers to Albuquerque and providing the best training for her students.
She was the last print I made of this series. I knew Eva's print had to be different, so I took a very different approach. She often uses powerful imagery in her teaching, so when she came over to my house I already had this imagery of a tree. A tree has roots that run deep and are the foundation and base of the structure -- as Eva is the foundation of flamenco in Albuquerque. And the branches go wide -- as do Eva's far-reaching aspirations to infuse flamenco into her community.
The wood was a walnut and it's very hard to get impressions from such a hard wood. So we played with stamping. We talked about her walking along the trunk, as she is the backbone of this community being this incredible mother and teacher to all her flamenco babies. 'Eva: Andando' came to mind because everything she does, she does with this pure-hearted, uncompromising belief in the movement.
MARISOL ENCINIAS - Marisol: Pasos en Doce I & II, 2017. Relief print with stitching. Relief print with stitching and roses. 36" x 72"
It was really important to me to feature Marisol in Huellas, because she is such a major part of the flamenco community here in Albuquerque. When the time came to meet Marisol was so busy putting together the 30th Anniversary of the Festivál that it was challenging to find the time to connect. I worried about how persistent I was being, but it meant so much to me that such an important figure was represented in this show. Graciously, she made time for the project in the middle of a whirlwind of meetings. She came right out of a conference, pulled on her shoes, jumped on the board and performed pasos from her solea por buleria in counts of twelve. Her steps were efficient and affective and so strong that they were easily captured by the balsa wood. Then, she changed shoes, and zipped off to rehearsal without a moment to spare. That's how busy and dedicated she is.
The pieces are so layered. I was very happy with how they turned out. They are rich with information, but also contain a lot of open spaces that to me represent room for growth. The inspiring thing about Marisol is that despite the fact that she has been steeped in the flamenco tradition her whole life, she is always pushing herself to grow, both as a dancer and a teacher.