Art & culture briefs

Albuquerque flamenco company travels to international festival

Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company, based at the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque, will be the first American company ever to perform at the prestigious Festival de Jerez in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, on Tuesday, Feb. 28. The group is unique in its conception as a repertory company. The customary format in flamenco includes a headlining artist presenting their work. Yjastros offers choreography by many of the leading flamenco artists in the world, thanks to the institute and the dance department at the University of New Mexico, which helps fund a continual roster of visiting artists.

Yjastros is directed by Joaquin Encinias. Along with his sister Marisol, and mother, Eva, they run the Albuquerque Flamenco Festival every summer, as well as year-round direction of a flamenco program within the department of theater and dance at UNM, classes for all ages at the institute, as well as Tierra Adentro, a charter school for Spanish music and art in Albuquerque. Yjastros performances look unlike any other flamenco performance. “I’m a student of dance,” Joaquin Encinias says. His use of space is reminiscent of modern dance and ballet. “It’s not about one individual. It’s about the group. It’s a more democratic way of presenting dance.”