Sparks fly in Santa Fe: Flamenco dancer Juan Siddi and his troop take to the stage

The Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company is back in Santa Fe for its fourth season this summer. The group will be at the Maria Benitez Theater at The Lodge of Santa Fe from Friday, June 17th through Sunday, August 14th. They perform six nights a week; there are no performances on Mondays.

 Juan Siddi and Carola Zertuche, photo/Morgan Smith, Courtesy Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company

Siddi is a powerful and talented Flamenco dancer. Sometimes his hands and feet move so quickly they’re a blur. His intensity is palpable. Born in Germany, to a Spanish mother and Italian father, he was exposed to dance at an early age. He made his professional debut at 18. In 2002, the young dancer became a soloist with Maria Benitez’s Teatro Flamenco, a fixture of Santa Fe’s summer season for over twenty-five years. In 2007, the legendary Benitez retired, turning over the stage at The Lodge to the young dancer and his newly formed troupe.

The company consists of Siddi, featured guest artist, Carola Zertuche (artistic director of the Theatre Flamenco San Francisco), three other woman dancers, two singers and three musicians. The compelling style of well-known Spanish flamenco guitarist, Chuscales is a good match for Siddi’s passion and intensity. Together, they are riveting.

Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company, photo/Morgan Smith, courtesy of Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company

The women are fascinating to watch. Their embroidered shawls and long, ruffled skirts are an integral part of the dance. Hands move gracefully, often with lightening speed. Their feet tap heavily and quickly on the wooden stage as they dance in precision. But there’s no doubt that Siddi is the star. His solos bring gasps, cheers and wild applause from the audience. They seem to still be under his spell as they leave the theater.

Flamenco is an art form, according to the program, that can be traced to the Middle Ages and the melding of musical traditions in Andalucia in southern Spain. African, Arabic and Indian music merged. The nomadic people who congregated here became known as gypsies. They are at the core of this musical tradition. Their songs and dances reflecting their exile, despair and suffering mingled with hope and the Andalucian music is the essence of flamenco. At the heart of the genre is duende, defined as the deep emotion inherent in the mystery if life translated to art, song music and dance. Simply put, duende is soul.

Juan Siddi, photo/Bo, courtesy of Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company

The theater offers cabaret seating. Drinks are available. Tickets are sold at the Lensic Performing Arts Center box office or online at Tickets Santa Fe. Whether you live here or are visiting, plan an evening with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company; it will be memorable.

Author’s note: We have been guest’s of the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theater Company. Their generous hospitality has not influenced this post in any way.


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One Response to “Sparks fly in Santa Fe: Flamenco dancer Juan Siddi and his troop take to the stage”

  1. Traveling Ted
    June 5, 2019 at 8:52 am #

    I really enjoy flamenco music, so I am sure I would like the dancing as well. Great pictures help illustrate the appeal of the show as well.

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