Award: Artist Research & Development Grant
Discipline: Performing Arts
Project Collaborator(s):

City/Town: Phoenix
Year: 2018
Artist Website:

As a dancer in Arizona, as I tried to be as puro as possible, I’ve been told that my style is too aggressive and masculine; that women should not do so much footwork and instead focus on the fluid movements of the hands and arms, always concentrating on creating a picturesque, beautiful flamenco image. I am not interested in being that dancer.

Flamenco began as a product of the Andalusian lower-class but was later embraced by Spain’s upper-class, becoming a national symbol. Eventually it was reclaimed as a gitano art form and since then, an idealization notion of puro (pure) flamenco has led many scholars to believe that only gitano dancers, who carry the form in their blood, can fully express the art of flamenco. Through her new performance piece SER, Angelina Ramirez explores concerns of identity and embodiment experienced by non-gitano dancer’s.

For the past twenty years, Ramirez has strived to present flamenco in the purest way possible, most often performing in traditional, intimate settings with live musicians, known as tablaos. These performances are largely improvised and are considered the most authentic way to present flamenco. SER will deepen Ramirez’s artistic practice by allowing her to explore a different kind of flamenco production and challenge the boundaries of what is traditionally considered flamenco.

Ramirez began studying Flamenco at the age of nine in Tucson, Arizona. At sixteen, she became a member of Olivia Rojo’s company, Flamenco y Más. Just out of high school, Angelina toured the US as a featured artist with the National Theater Company. She continued her studies at the National Institute of Flamenco Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico with Eva Encinias, Joaquin Encinias, Omayra Amaya and Marisol Encinias. Upon returning to Arizona, Angelina founded Flamenco Por La Vida, a performance company that has been continually performing throughout the Valley for the past eight years and hosts two annual festivals in Phoenix: Lluvia Flamenca and The Phoenix Festival de España. She also tours with world-renowned, New York-based company Noche Flamenca in their production of Antigone. Recently, Angelina was one of ten teaching artists to be selected to participate in the inaugural Creative Aging Teaching Artist Institute through the Arizona Commission on the Arts.