Spirit of Jerez: A Personal Journey in Flamenco

Today and tomorrow, engaged learning student Natalia Perea showcases her work from her travels

Courtesy of Natalia Perea

Engaged Learning Fellow Natalia Perea (B.F.A. in dance performance and B.A. in English ’15) focuses on the passionate flamenco dance culture in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, in her exhibit in the SMU Meadows Doolin Gallery on Thursday, April 9, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Friday, April 10, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. “Spirit of Jerez: A Personal Journey in Flamenco” will also include original photographs by Natalia’s sister, professional dancer Amaya Perea.

Flamenco cantador (singer) José Cortes Fernandez will perform during the exhibition opening on Thursday evening.

The multifaceted exhibition, made possible by an Engaged Learning Grant, a Meadows Exploration Award and support from the 2015 Dallas Flamenco Festival and FlamencoDNA, is a result of Natalia’s passions for flamenco, travel and study.

Natalia spent several weeks in Jerez before traveling to Madrid, Spain, for a four-month study abroad program, after which she wanted to bring back the spirit of flamenco.

“It’s hard to take back essence,” Natalia said. “But I wanted to bring back the essence of flamenco as I see it and integrate it into a performance and event.”

Natalia grew up dancing flamenco with her sister Amaya.

For her final Engaged Learning project, Natalia knew that she wanted to combine her love for language, writing, community and dance.

“I wanted to bring all the mediums I could use to bring back the taste of flamenco,” Natalia said. “My journey has always included separate interests, and flamenco with its separate languages and expressions is all about coming together and saying something.”

Even though SMU’s dance program doesn’t offer classes specifically in flamenco dancing, Natalia studied it on her own. Through a Meadows Exploration Grant during her sophomore year, she was able to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico for the Albuquerque Flamenco Festival.

“Flamenco has the lyrics, the dance and the toque (music),” Natalia said. “In the exhibition, all these art forms come together, but they are really part of the same one.”

For more information, visit Nataliaperea.com and Amaya Perea Photography.

Read more about the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Doolin Gallery.