4 minute read



DCNT: How did the idea for Flamenco Black come about?


Delilah: A couple of experiences, both personal and professional, led to the rise of the Flamenco Black concept. In February 2020 the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture Community Artist Program (CAP) program asked if our company, The Flame Foundation, would lead an hour-long discussion and performance on flamenco and its African origins and influences during Black History month. As I researched I came across a wealth of information—books like Sonidos Negros, Afro-Andalusian Memories, and the film Gurumbé, which features Yinka Esi Graves (Flamenco Black guest bailaora and choreographer), an African decent flamenco dancer from London who now resides in Sevilla. I became intrigued and wanted to discover more about Afro-Andalusian and African flamenco roots. On a personal level, my eldest son who is a biracial, black-white-latino, had asked me if there were any black flamenco performers. Why not, I thought. Or if there are, why haven’t they performed in Dallas? We teach many after school programs and children, and if there were black professional flamenco dancers onstage maybe more of our black children, students and communities would want to learn the technique.

I discussed doing a show called Flamenco Black in 2022 with Julie Moon, a friend, flamenco dancer and producer from Atlanta. She said she knew Yinka, and that she had brought her to Atlanta a couple of years ago.

A few weeks later I was choreographing a piece for the Dallas Theater Center’s big collaborative works. Most of the producers and choreographers involved in that project stopped by our Estudio one afternoon including Bridget L. Moore, who was part of the artistic team. For the record, I have been a fan of B.MOORE DANCE for years, and loved her piece, Sketches of Spain. I told her I’d always wanted to work with her and later that evening when we ran into each other at a restaurant I said: “Ok, let’s do a show called Flameno Black ”. (continued)

We stayed in contact that summer and I wrote her to say I was going to submit the project to the City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture for a grant. We were awarded and the journey began!

Bridget: Delilah Buitron, Antonio Arrebola, and I were out with Fernando Hernandez, costume designer and mutual friend. We were all having a meal together, and casually discussing The Odyssey produced by Dallas Theater Center, of which we were all a part of. I choreographed for the production, and Delilah created a flamenco solo as one of the companies presented. The work was truly remarkable and enticing. I’ve always loved flamenco dance! We both talked about the admiration we had for each other’s work and how it would be nice to collaborate. She mentioned that she had an idea that she wanted to propose to me, involving B. MOORE DANCE. I knew right away that I wanted to participate when she said, ‘Flamenco Black ’.

DCNT: Did the final outcome change from your original concept and if so, how and why?

Delilah: The outcome has changed somewhat, but all for the good and integrity of the show. There are a lot of team players involved in this production of Flamenco Black and more investigation into Afro-Andalusian history and African flamenco roots has influenced what each choreographer, musician, dancer, and artistic team player contributes in style and skills. Working remotely with the flamenco musicians and Yinka has also contributed to changes in aesthetics and emotions.

Bridget: So far, everything is going as planned. Our work and various processes are keeping us both busy. We launched the project in March of this year because we wanted to have ample opportunity to allow our ideas to flourish and inform our choices. From the start, Yinka Esi’ Graves and Antonio Arrebola have been working with the dancers. For my process, I have observed rehearsals, video footage, and conducted research on Andalusian history and its African roots.

DCNT: How is the final performance structured and what should the audience expect to see and feel?

Delilah: Flamenco Black is a compilation of flamenco songs, dances, and stories that are directly linked to Afro-Andalusian history, African Flamenco roots, and black communities. They express powerful imagery through traditional and contemporary stylization.

Bridget: The final structure is still a work in progress, as we are in our own creative processes and working together to formulate it. Our aim is to create a temperament of passion and energy that encompasses the entire spectrum of Flamenco Black. The descendants of Africans (Moors) as they relate to Flamenco have a rich history that needs to be unpacked and understood The AfroAndalusian’s pre-history is often overlooked, but it did indeed exist. Discovering and exploring the different facets through movement and observing has been a fascinating experience.

DCNT: Do you think this experience will influence future choreography when working on your own company projects?

Delilah: I believe this is the beginning of future Flamenco Black productions.

Bridget: My work is influenced by my life and the things that are happening around me and that I care deeply about. My work consistently incorporates various forms of culture. I believe that we live in a global society, so the work that I do as an artist should reflect that. Flamenco Black is an extension or expansion of my creative exploration as a dance practitioner.

DCNT: Do you plan to collaborate on projects in the future??

Delilah: Collaborating with Bridget Moore has been a wonderful artistic learning experience. I can’t wait to take Flamenco Black on tour! Bridget: Absolutely. Collaboration is a vital component of B. MOORE DANCE’s mission. Since the company’s inception, I’ve made an effort to work with various artists and organizations, so I certainly look forward to other collaborative projects in the near future.

Delilah Buitron Arrebola is the Artistic Director of The Flame Foundation, a 501c3 organization whose mission is to educate and promote knowledge, skill, and appreciation of the performing and visual arts to children and adults in Dallas, Texas. Their primary focus is on Flamenco dance, music, and its history. theflamefoundation.org | facebook.com/theflamefoundation | .instagram.com/ theflamefoundation.

Bridget L. Moore is the Artistic Director of B. MOORE DANCE, a Dallas-based contemporary modern dance company, whose mission is to empower and transcend generations through the art of dance by cultivating the arts through leadership, education and performances. bmooredance.org | facebook. com/bmooredance.org | instagram.com/b.moore. dance.