As heir to one of the greatest flamenco dynasties in the world, the Spanish dancer Farruquito has been perfecting his craft since the tender age of 4, when he appeared with his family in the hit Broadway show Flamenco Puro. At the age of 11, he made his film debut in the classic Carlos Saura film, Flamenco, dancing alongside his grandfather “El Farruco” in what was largely seen as a symbolic passing of the baton.
In the years since, Farruquito has taken his show around the world, becoming one of the most in-demand dancers of our time with The New York Times calling him “the greatest flamenco dancer of the new century.” On Friday, Nov. 15, Farruquito brings his explosive stage production to the Alamo City for an intimate performance at Laurie Auditorium. We caught up with the dancer ahead of his performance, and he spoke about the challenges of being a dancer and the true meaning of duende.
How is your current show different from all your previous productions?
This show is different, as are all of my shows different from one another. I always try to transmit my current state of mind. It is not a narrative storyline, but rather a sharing with the audience of sensations and emotions from within. The cast members that perform with me are not part of a chorus or mere accompaniment, each and every one of them is an artist who offers their own performance during the evening.
How do the musicians you work with challenge you to be a better dancer?
More than challenge me, we share ideas, we play on and with the music together. It is a conversation about who we are and how we admire and respect one another. In this show, I am not the only protagonist, each individual is a protagonist in each moment, in the flamenco, in the improvisation.
What do you think is the most interesting or exciting thing about modern flamenco?
Modern flamenco does not exist. It has always been modern and traditional at the same time. Sometimes we confuse the evolution of flamenco with the fusion of other art forms. If flamenco is the expression of what one is feeling, it will always be actual and relevant because as humans we are always changing and evolving. In my opinion, there are only two types of flamenco, the one that is loved, and the one that is not.
Why do you think there are so few male flamenco dancers?
I don’t know why there are so few male flamenco dancers. But, from here, I encourage them to live a glorious experience in flamenco. It can even be therapeutic.
Do you think duende exists in pop music and other forms of music?
Totally. The duende is the magic, those unrepeatable moments, you can only call them with love, dedication, respect and understanding of the art. Where there is truth, there is duende.
Here in the United States many dancers think they have to go to Spain to learn how to dance flamenco. Are there other parts of the world or countries were one can go to learn how to master the art of flamenco?
Well, when people want to learn how to cook pasta with the authentic ingredients from Mama, it is clear that you should go to Italy. I think with that response, I answer your question.
Is there a lot of pressure to live up to the title of the World’s Best Flamenco Dancer?
I have never felt the pressure with others. Art is sharing, not competing. The only pressure I have is to overcome my own self and learn from everyone else.
Farruquito will perform at Laurie Auditorium Friday, Nov. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Get tickets at artssa.org.
This interview has been edited for clarity and length.