A WARM SIBERIAN WELCOME
The term legend and icon are much abused these days. The more pernickety reserve such terms for artistes whose professional heritage is based not on what they say but what they do.
Having caught up with flamenco maestra Raquel Peña I came straight to the point. “You were feted in Sergut in Siberia, and also Moscow and St. Petersburg, where next your dancing feet?” Her reply; “there’s a relationship between the guitar and the balalaika; I share it and I rule nothing out.”
An unassuming and approachable woman Raquel’s unmatched dancing and teaching skills are internationally acclaimed. “Your legacy lives on in students. Some, like professional flamenco performers Daniel Asis, Elvira Sanchez and the breathtaking Argentinean beauty Luciana Ibañez are captivating audiences. This must bring great satisfaction.” Raquel smiled: “It does of course but you know, through the students from my school, Flamenco for All, my Sevillana dancers also keep alive the Andalucía spirit. They raise a great deal of money for charities whose purpose is to bring relief to the hard-pressed regardless of nationality.”
Raquel who has earned more awards than many has to be nailed down. Most of the venues where she and her star-studded troupe appear are distinctly chic. Touching on the subject, she told me that she thinks it important that her flamenco performances reflect both Spanish ambiance and discerning clientele. “Having said that,” she adds. “It is equally important that my audience is not exclusive. Wherever we perform we welcome those who drop by. I only do two ticket only performances each year.” Dropping in is more easily said than done. Many of the venues she and her artistes appear at are popular and tables need to be pre-booked. “I do not have favourite settings,” she tells me. “Each of my staged performances has their unique qualities just as my dancers do.”
Raquel Peña and her artistes, destined for legend status like the connoisseur herself, can be experienced on Tuesday evenings at Orihuela Costa Resort, La Zenia. Performances start at 2.30 pm at Rebate Restaurant on Wednesdays and Sundays. Friday finds them at the Castle de Conesa in San Miguel. La Encarnacion Hotel and Restaurant in Los Alcazares on Sunday evenings is always a sell-out evening dinner performance.
For more information Raquel Peña can be contacted on 630 689 431.