Rebeca Tomás is an internationally acclaimed Flamenco dancer, sharing her mastery with Revolucion Latina in this year’s Choreographers Festival. She began her formal dance training in Granada, Spain at Maite Galán’s Escuela de Danza Española. She later moved to Madrid, where she studied at the renowned Flamenco Academy Amor de Dios under such figures as Maria Magdalena, La China, Manuel Liñán, and Rafaela Carrasco.
After performing with Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca, Rebeca founded A Palo Seco Flamenco Company. She now dares to go beyond by directing and choreographing her own original productions. Her aesthetic is rooted in Flamenco tradition while embodying a modern, urban context. She has been honored time and time again for her contributions to the artistic community, receiving grants from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund for her company productions, as well as the Jerome Foundation’s Travel and Study Grant. In 2013, she was awarded a fellowship in Choreography from the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA). Past projects include Lincoln Center’s production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Yaron Zilberman’s indie drama A Late Quartet, and Flamenco Vivo II’s Navidad Flamenca.
Rebeca took the time to share insights gained from her journey on the road to BOUNTIFUL.
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What was the first dance performance you saw and how did it impact you?
The first performance I saw was in Granada on a study abroad. I saw Antonio Canales (Flamenco dancer) and his company and was blown away. The rhythms, the footwork, the music—before then I had never danced. I didn’t really know what Flamenco was, but this was a life-changer. I knew that I had to learn this art form. I had to do it. I had to be a part of it. I had to imbibe it. And so began my journey…
Where do you look to find inspiration?
Different forms of art, different forms of dance. MUSIC of all types! Poetry. Right now, much inspiration comes from my children (20 months and 4.5 years old). Being with them, learning from them, watching them explore and interact with the world is inspiring. I listen to lots of different music with them and we make music and dance together. Lately, I have been integrating the children’s music and spoken word into my work, and it has become so much richer and more personal. Yet, it is universal. Flamenco is the medium, but what I create is fully my own.
What do you hope to communicate to audiences viewing your piece?
I hope to communicate that the personal is universal and the universal is personal. We need to express ourselves and what we have inside through whatever medium feels right to us. We need to show it and share it.
In my work with my own Flamenco company—and this is also evident in my BOUNTIFUL piece—I try to “go beyond” the boundaries of traditional Flamenco to make it my own and to show audiences that Flamenco as an art form is much more than the stereotypical picture of a woman in a long frilly dress with castanets. Flamenco is an evolving art form that takes on characteristics of wherever it is being performed and whoever is performing it. It IS, as people note, an incredibly deep and soulful type of music and dance, expressing some of the most intrinsic human emotions, and so it has the ability to tell and express the story of anyone who connects to it. It can meld and mold to their own personal story, and expression of it.
What advice would you give to dancers hoping to perform or choreograph professionally?
Find Balance in what you do! Not easy :) And make sure that as you move along your path that you continue to be inspired and driven by your inner self and soul. THAT is what keeps pushing you to create and move forward.
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