Flamenco Andaluz

Onstage, Flamenco Andaluz founder Bianca Antonia is equal parts seductress and technician. Flipping her ruffled skirt, she circles her partner, swinging her hips in time to the music. She clicks her castanets, then reaches down to pull up the hem of her skirt, showing a bit of ankle as she performs the intricate footwork for which flamenco dancing is so well known.

“The footwork is the part people love,” Antonia says. “Flamenco is a very intimate art, and at Avant Garden, the space is small enough that people can really see it.”

A guitarist/singer accompanies a trio of Flamenco Andaluz dancers during the performance. Antonia says the live music is important because “flamenco is an improvised art form; it’s not always choreographed. In flamenco, the guitar follows the dancer, unlike other forms where the dancers follow the music. So, we’re able to experiment on stage and do whatever we want, knowing the guitarist will follow us.

“With us, you’ll see traditional flamenco. We do the more dramatic dances; we do a lot of rumbas, which are a little bit on the flirtatious side, and tangos, which, of course, are very dramatic. My favorite dance is the bulerias, which are very festive.”

And what’s best to drink while watching flamenco dancing? “Wine,” Antonia says quickly. “Red wine.” 8:30 to 10 p.m. Thursdays through April 24. Avant Garden, 411 Westheimer. For information, call 713-834-2870 or visit www.flamenco-andaluz.com. Free.
Thursdays, 8:30-10 p.m. Starts: March 6. Continues through July 31, 2008

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Olivia Flores Alvarez