The passion and the fire: The 14th Flamenco Arts Festival promises performance, talks and workshops

Flamenco is part of everybody in Spain," says organizer Vibiana Pizano. Paco Villalta photo
Flamenco is part of everybody in Spain,” says organizer Vibiana Pizano.
Paco Villalta photo

If your only experience of flamenco is watching it every Fiesta on the steps of either the Courthouse or the Mission, well, the Flamenco Arts Festival has some news: that’s only the beginning. For three days the Festival brings in some of the most daring artists in the world of flamenco not just to perform, but to hold master classes in the art form, from dancing to guitar playing. It’s only three days, but the Festival hopes that for some it will stoke the flames of flamenco passion.

“This is a very high level professional production,” says owner and organizer Vibiana Pizano. “These are the people who have made flamenco what it is. These are the people who are the masters, who the kids in town learning flamenco aspire to be. We’re really fortunate that we can bring them here and inspire the kids who are learning flamenco now.”

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The Heart of Spain – Flamenco Arts Festival returns to Santa Barbara with a master pianist

By the time you read this, Alberto Pizano will have already been handed the resolution honoring Spanish Heritage Month from Santa Barbara County and had his photo taken as a thank you. For the council, Pizano represents the best in our community, and those in the arts will know that Pizano and his daughter Vibiana, co-founders of the Flamenco Arts Festival, represent the opportunity to see a culture that often seems so close to us, yet still a continent away. For 10 years, the Pizanos have brought the top stars of this flamenco to our city.

The Pizanos have marked the 11th year of the two-day festival by moving in a new direction, as far as traditional flamenco goes. David Peña Dorantes changed the flamenco world in his native Spain by choosing the piano — not the traditional guitar — to play, and now he is coming here.

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