Ana Romero

Ana Romero

 

Born in Melbourne, Australia, with Andalusian parents, she has trained in flamenco dancing with teachers such as Manolete, “El Güito”, Belén Maya, Manolo Marín, “La China”, Manuel Reyes, Ciro, Paco Fernández, “La Tona”, Milagros Mengíbar, Paco Romero, Rafaela Carrasco, “La Tati”, Manuel Liñán, Marco Flores, Alejandro Granados, Yolanda Heredia, Alfonso Losa or David Paniagua.

Her professional experience includes a great dedication to dance in tablaos such as El Flamenco (Japan), Corral de la Morería, Venta del Gato, Café de Chinitas, Las Carboneras (Madrid) or El Carmen (Barcelona). She is one of the greatest specialists in tablao flamenco dance and stands out for her strength and refined technique.

 

She has worked in companies such as Manuela Vargas, with which she played Fedra in Spain, Europe and South America; Luisillo, with whom she toured Europe, Asia and South America; Manolete, with which she participated in the International Festival of Music and Dance of Granada, in the Dutch Flamenco Festival, the Caracalla Festival and the Opera House in Rome; “El Güito”, with whom she danced at the Sinaloa Festival (Mexico), the Valencia Festival or the Granada Festival; Paco Peña, with whom she attended the Tall Ships Festival in Liverpool (England) and toured Australia; Andrés Cubos, with whom she performed at Paseíllo Flamenco-Katak in Madrid and Venice; Cristina Hoyos, whose company was part of the show “Arsa y toma” for three years; Antonio Vargas, whose flamenco company integrated and with whom she participated in his adaptation of the theater play “La casa de Bernarda Alba”; Belén Maya, with whom she performed at the Paris Festival, the Grenoble Festival and the Sala Caracol (Madrid); Alfonso Losa, of whose company she was part acting for the Community of Madrid; Joaquin Grilo, in whose company she took part with performances in the Festival of Jerez or the one in Logroño; in Noche Flamenca, a formation of which she was part for four years acting in the United States, Canada and Central America; La Shica, singer who accompanied for three years as a dancer, showgirl and clapper; Arrieritos: in the Sala Pradillo (Madrid) she premiered the flamenco-contemporary production “En tablao”, which also represented in the Festival of Huesca, the Puertollano Festival and the Community of Madrid; he also acted in its award-winning show “13 rosas”, with which the company won two Max awards for the best show and the best choreography in 2007; Company of Manuel Liñán, Olga Pericet, Marco Flores and Daniel Doña: she performed at the New York Flamenco Festival, at the Sydney Opera House, on a tour of Australia and Asia, at the Susan Dalai Festival in Tel Aviv, at the Festival of Jerez or at the Teatro de Madrid; Company of Manuel Liñán: she acted in the show “Mundo y aparte”.

She has also participated in other groups with performances in Madrid, Seville, the Alburquerque Festival, in New York, Washington, etc. With the Company of Marco Flores currently intervenes in “Tránsito” and “De flamencas” with a tour of Europe and the United States.

Since 2000 she is a founding member and dancer of Las Carboneras, one of the most respected flamenco tablaos in Madrid. In addition, she has participated in the films “El día que nací yo” and “Ole!”.

As a flamenco teacher she has taught courses in Brazil (Sao Paulo); Canada (Montreal, Toronto); United States (New York, San Francisco); Australia (Melbourne, Sidney, Adelaide); Spain (Madrid, Ciudad Real); Israel (Jerusalem, Tel Aviv) or Italy (Rome, Milan, Naples).

 

 

Ana Romero: “I see young people with increasingly more preparation”

The dancer Ana Romero, born in Australia of Andalusian parents, climbed to a stage for the first time when she was five years old and professionally, at fourteen. Then she came to Spain and, between tours with Manuela Vargas and Cristina Hoyos, among others, she grew as a bailaora in Madrid tablaos to become the race artist she is now. She is one of the three founding dancers of Las Carboneras and she passionately sees the progress of the new generations.

—Explain to us how it has been your experience in flamenco and how you ended up in the world of flamenco tablaos.

—I started dancing at age five in Australia in a Spanish community. My first experience was at fourteen in flamenco tablaos in Melbourne, where there were several tablaos that worked at the time. My teacher introduced me and I started dancing from Thursday to Sunday. Then I came to live in Madrid, at first I was very afraid, I had much respect, with flamenco and I didn’t dare. I spent a year and by chance my first introduction to it was through Tacha and Belén Fernández. In an amazing way because we did not know each other, but Tacha and Belén had seen me in a dance class, they liked my dancing and both were super generous and they said to me why not to go to a tablao and do a test to start working. I actually started because Belén organized it, Tacha was leaving, I took the test and went. Following that I worked in almost every tablao in Madrid. It was part of my training and my work for many years, apart from being integrated in companies. Eventually we decided to open Tablao Las Carboneras in Madrid. Sure, Tacha is my best friend and she has been my companion in the tablao throughout the time.

—Then, at the end, to call it that way, you have become a specialist in flamenco tablao.

—I would not say a specialist. I’m a worker. Besides flamenco tablao format is not easy because it is daily and not everyone likes every day. Well, Ángel Gabarre is an icon and the man works every day with the same intensity and the same desire and is very fond of it. I understand that the diary is really difficult. I identify with it, I need it and it’s my way of working, maybe because I grew up that way and we are creatures of habit. I love to work each day.

—And what is the fundamental difference between dancing every day in a tablao and another thing that you have done (also pretty much) that is acting in shows?

—Dancing in shows is very different to dance in a tablao. In a tablao there is a very direct connection with the public, it becomes more intimate. Personally, that’s what attracts me. Suddenly you find a room full of people and you are surprised of the care and connection that you have with people. In a tablao you work more the moment, what is happening to  each one. Many times it does not work, but many many other it does, and that is rewarding. When you really get to that magic, it can only happen at that time and is unique because the next time it will be otherwise. And in the theater it works well but it is different, it goes with organized labor, you give vent to it more spontaneously, but in a more limited way.

—Would you like to highlight some artists who have particularly influenced you over the years you’ve been in flamenco?

—I think that everyone influences your career and passes through your life for some reason, I think things are not for free, but people who have come to me in a very special way … I was fortunate to work with Manuela Vargas, she had a very special way of working. I’m talking about many years ago and we used to work differently. It was a very special way, the emotion was very important in the work. The technique also, but the emotion was so prevalent in her work. She has influenced me and surely many people have too, though I do not remember many of them, but there is a droplet from each one that sticks to you. I have so much admiration for Ángel Gabarre in particular because I’ve been working with him since we started in Las Carboneras [2000] and the 9 years prior at the Alcazaba. Ángel is someone who comes to me in a very direct way, in a very deep form of expression and because how generous he is. I also enjoyed a lot working with Cristina Hoyos. I learned other flamenco with her. No you could tell a particular person, everyone has contributed with something. Everyone gives you gifts.

—The experience in the tablao has led you in recent years to create a dance contest that has given you the opportunity to know how are the new generations like. Where do you think  flamenco is going now?

—In flamenco I see people with a great desire and really fondo f it with few opportunities to expose. In flamenco tablao, when we have done the contest, I’ve moved a lot. People show up with great enthusiasm and what they lack is experience. Unfortunately there aren’t many possibilities. About 10 years ago there were many companies where you had chances to grow in a format of companies, groups and gigs. All of that is very small now. Now I see people with great enthusiasm, desire and a lot more preparation, everytime more. They also have internet access, everything is exposed. Then it’s up to everyone to find their personality, that is done with the experience. There are few who are touched with the rod, very special people, but others, the hard workers of flamenco, that are everyone, is a long term career, go to work, creating a personality based on your experiences, what you’re like and what you feel.

 

 

—Another thing that has characterized you is having worked extensively abroad. Do you think that flamenco is valued outside?

—I think flamenco is super valued abroad, sometimes more than right here. There is a relish and a huge respect among people committed outside Spain’s flamenco. The limits are endless, we must be grateful, there are people who come, spend their time, their hopes, their money here in Spain to continue moving it out. In flamenco, you move or do not move, but leaves no one indifferent. A wonderful flamenco is being made outside Spain, there are super important festivals that are leaving a significant height for the genre.

—And the public increases, much of the public of the tablao is from abroad.

—Yes, most of the audience is from abroad, but that means nothing. When you do your job you do it for yourself and to share it with your peers, and that does not mean sacrificing quality. The quality have to be exposed to everyone. I do not think foreigners are dummy. Just as when you go to a museum and maybe you do not understand what you are seeing, beauty is able to be grasped, the sensitivity is always there. There are all types of people, but usually I see a devoted audience, eager to see and feel.