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NZ dancer brings flamenco to Wellington

16 May 2006

New Zealand dancer brings the art of flamenco to Wellington

A professional flamenco dancer, home in New Zealand for a short time, will run an exciting seminar series that aims to demystify the art form of flamenco.

Francine Sweet is one of the only New Zealanders to work as a flamenco dancer in Spain and she plans to share her knowledge and experiences in Arte Jondo - Flamenco Seminar. The four-week interactive lecture style series is every Wednesday (6pm - 7.30pm) from 24 May until 14 June at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre.

Francine says the seminar series is for anyone interested in dance, music, singing, percussion or Andalucian culture. "The seminar will demystify the art form for anyone who is intrigued by flamenco and will be great background for anyone who has studied dance, music or song," she says.

The sessions will cover the history and origins of flamenco; song; Jerez flamenco; theatre flamenco and grass roots flamenco and basic terminology, structure, and key rhythms. The series will also be an opportunity to see some rare footage of flamenco artists.

Francine has studied and performed in Spain and has shared the stage with many great local artists including Manuel Parrilla and Luis Vargas in Jeréz de la Frontera. She has performed in peñas and tablaos (flamenco venues) in Sevilla and Cádiz, with some of Spain's most respected artists such singer Luis Agujetas and guitarist Niño Jero. Francine has lead Soniquete de Jeréz, a group involving guitarist Jesus Alvarez and singer Luis Vargas, to perform in Jakarta, Indonesia.

She has taught classes and workshops since 2001 throughout western Canada, Asia, and nationwide in New Zealand and in 2004 she opened a professional training studio in Taipei, Taiwan - Esencia Flamenca.

Wellington Performing Arts Centre director Jenny Stephenson says Wellington is very lucky to have someone of Francine's calibre bringing her knowledge back home.

"There's a real hunger out there to know more about this fascinating art form. Francine is best placed New Zealander at this point in time to increase our understanding of flamenco - not just for dancers but for everyone who wants to learn more," she says.

Arte Jondo - Flamenco Seminar
Wednesday Nights 24 May - 14 June
6pm - 7.30pm
Wellington Performing Arts Centre
36 Vivian Street


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