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Flamenco dancing ignites stage

Joyce Rudolph

Flamenco dancing, performed with exuberant hand-clapping and stamping

of the feet, will add spice to the debut performance of the Santa

Cecilia Orchestra Oct. 18 at The Alex Theatre.


Music director and conductor Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega of Eagle

Rock leads the orchestra in this all-Spanish composer program titled

“A Night in Spain.” Composers featured will be Granados, De Falla and



The evening’s highlight is the piece “El Amor Brujo” by Manuel de

Falla, originally composed for Pastora Imperio, one of the greatest

gypsy dancers and singers of Spain, De Leon de Vega said. Guest

flamenco artist Maria “ChaCha” Bermudez will perform the singing and

dancing for the selection at The Alex.

“As a special treat, we are doing the De Falla’s ‘El Amor Brujo’

as it was originally intended to be performed, with a flamenco artist

singing and dancing,” she said. “Today it is always done all over the


world by an opera singer without dancing.”

It has been a career goal for Bermudez to sing and dance this

piece, De Leon de Vega said. She performed the dancing for it a few

years ago.

“Her dancing is incredible,” the conductor said. “The voice in the

flamenco style has a gypsy sound that is very different than what an

audience is used to hearing.”

De Leon de Vega promises the performance will be a very visual one


that will captivate the attention of even younger audience members.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the orchestra plays regularly at

the Ford Amphitheater in Los Angeles and the Warner Grand Theatre in

San Pedro. It pulls a large Latin audience from Northeast Los Angeles

and always has a Spanish or Latin composer on the program, she said.

The orchestra does a lot of outreach to schools in these areas

through its Discovering Music Program, which will expand to Glendale

elementary schools at the end of October, De Leon de Vega said.

The Alex Theatre was chosen as a new locale because of its

proximity to the areas of Eagle Rock, Glassell Park and Highland

Park. The conductor is hoping to become a resident company of The