Thanks everyone for your continued support and your love for the art of flamenco. Your attendance in classes of dance, guitar, singing, workshops, special events and performances is what makes flamenco arts thrive and grow in the Houston area. This last month of May, there were many events going on aside from our own regular classes, and all were well attended, I’m very glad to say. In a city the size of Houston a very healthy flamenco community of performers, aficionados and fans should only get better. Support and attend events, what you can and when you can, not only for yourself but for the good of our flamenco community.
I have seen many changes and flamenco growth in the Houston area since I started “Gitanerias Flamenco Trio” back in 1977. The trio was composed of me, my brother and guitarist Miguel Rodriguez and dancer Gina Uribe, all from San Antonio. There were no other performing groups at that time. When we needed more performers we had to bring them in from out of town, mostly our friends from San Antonio. The oil boom was going on and we did many well paid convention gigs, private parties, etc. not only here but in the surrounding cities like Austin and Dallas. We were quite busy, not to mention Tio Pepe and La Paella Spanish restaurants at that time. At that time too, there was the Rogelio Rodriguez dance academy, the only flamenco dance school in Houston. I had the pleasure to first meet Rogelio at a Jose Greco workshop in Dallas in the late 60’s, I was still living in San Antonio at the time. Mr. Rodriguez taught in the Houston area for many years as well as bringing international and national flamenco artists to share their art in Houston. Also, Mr. Rodriguez later formed his performing group. As many of you may know he passed away a few years ago, rest in peace my friend, you were a mover and a shaker in the arts.
Later on, around 1979, Valdemar Phoenix joined my group, ‘Gitanerias Flamenco’ and played second guitar to my brother Miguel for several years. I and Valdemar have been in the flamenco performing world together for many years. We formed the Society of Flamenco Arts in 1983, a 501non-profit organization that helped promote flamenco arts in Houston until 2009. We are still busy performing, probably, as long as God and life allows us. We both love this art!
Today we have so much more in flamenco dance classes in Houston. Many more flamenco dance teachers are available throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. We have Maria del Espadin, La Tempestad, Maria Fernanda Urbaez, Solangel Lali Calix, Alexandra Simmons, Almoraima Esparis and my friend of many years, maestro Timo Lozano. Timo who is an internationally recognized performer as well as master teacher relocated to Houston a few years ago. We also have more performers and promoters of flamenco arts like Irma Laucirica, Jeremy Garcia, Patricia Davis and Julie Ducote of the Flamenco Poets Society. Anyway, one of my favorite quotes is “Nothing stays the same except change”. I hope to experience many more exciting flamenco events as we did this last May. Ole! Que viva el arte!