Seville, SPAIN, September 1, 2006 "“ Andalusia is the birthplace of flamenco and Seville offers some of the region's most celebrated performances, so it makes sense that this charming city in southern Spain hosts the art form's most important event "“ the Bienal de Flamenco, September 13 to October 15. But while the city of Carmen, Don Juan and Figaro has a reputation for theatricality and intensity, you would not automatically think of it is a bastion of cutting-edge contemporary art. Kicking off October 26 and running through January 8, 2007, the Second International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville will focus on the position of contemporary art in today's society under the theme: "The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society."
This year the 14th edition of the Flamenco Biennial will be a tribute to dance which will be showcased in 29 flamenco shows "“ almost one every night during the month-long festival. Flamenco greats and their companies performing include: celebrated dancers/ choreographers Cristina Hoyos, BelÃ©n Maya, guitarist and singer Diego Carrasco and acclaimed guitarist JosÃ© Antonio RodrÃguez. Kicking off the festival on September 13 will be "AndalucÃa, Flamenco and Humanity," directed by Mario Maya. The Ballet Flamenco de AndalucÃa under the direction of Cristina Hoyos takes the stage with "Romancero Gitano" on September 14 and 15. "Arena" and TÃ¡bula rasa," the latest choreography by Israel GalvÃ¡n (winner of last year's prestigious National Dance Award) will be presented September 15 and 17 and his newest piece, "La Francesa" on the 16th. Other noteworthy works on the program are: Belen Maya's "Sketches" (9/22), Mercedes Ruiz's premiere of "JuncÃ¡ (9/24 & 25), Joaquin Grilo's "A solas" (10/3) and Eva Yerbabuena's "Spindle of Memory" (10/6 & 7)." Large-scale shows include: "Women of Lorca," by Carmen CortÃ©s (9/27 & 29) and "Gitanas" with La Farruca and Pilar Montoya (10/13 & 14).
Seville's main focal point, the beautiful Mudejar palace of the Real AlcÃ¡zar "“ its most outstanding historic complex and the oldest royal palace still used by a European monarch "“ will provide a dramatic backdrop for several flamenco performances. Other venues include: the neo-baroque Lope de Vega Theater dating from 1929, the modern 8,000 seat Seville Auditorium, the Hotel Triana, and the city's grand opera house, the Maestranza Theater which will host the closing gala dedicated to Manuela Carrasco.
"When they say 'flamenco history happens at the biennial,'" explains Javier PiÃ±anes, director of the Tourist Office of Spain in New York, "the festival aims to spotlight the generation of bailaores who all developed their own style on stage," PiÃ±anes said.
The Second International Biennial of Contemporary Art will showcase Seville's growing participation in the arts. Artistic Director, Okwui Enwezor was able to expand on the biennial's theme by drawing on his experience as director of Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany and the Second Johannesburg Biennial. Artists will display their works in the beautiful courtyards, refectories, chapels, gardens and even chimneys of the city's 15th century La Cartuja de Santa MarÃa de las Cuevas. The Gothic-Mudejar-Renaissance monastery is linked to the discovery of America. Christopher Columbus planned his second voyage to America here; the family used the building as a repository, and the chapel is where the great explorer was buried. Declared a historic-artistic monument in 1964 and a Monumental Site in 1989, it currently functions as headquarters of the Andalusian Center of Contemporary Art, the Andalusian Institute of Historic Heritage and the International University of Andalusia. Other works will be presented in the spacious naves and halls of the Reales Atarazanas, a 13th century shipyard. The list of participating artists will be released in early September. Last year's biennial attracted such well-known contemporary artists as: Richard Serra, Eduardo Chillada, Lucinda Devlin, Tracey Emin, Victoria Gil, Federico GuzmÃ¡n, Juan MuÃ±oz, Olaf Nicolai, Ulrich RÃ¼ckriem, Lars Nilsson and Javier Velasco.
When visitors have their fill of flamenco and contemporary art, they still can find much to see in Seville. The city boasts the largest Gothic cathedral in the world built on the site of a 12th century mosque. Now, the famed Giralda tower is all that remains of that Moorish structure built by the Almohads. Craftsman from throughout Spain created the sumptuous MudÃ©jar-style royal residence, the Reales AlcÃ¡zares. A jewel box of patios, gardens, fountains, its gilded rooms are filled with stucco work glazed azulejos and elaborately carved doors.
For more information about the Flamenco Biennial go to www.bienal-flamenco.org and for information about the International Biennial of Contemporary Art www.fundacionbiacs.com. For information about Spain go to www.spain.info