photo of dancers

Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company
Photo courtesy of National Institute of Flamenco

Las Vegas, N.M. –  Highlands University presents Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company in concert Nov. 18 at 7 p.m. in the university’s historic Ilfeld Auditorium, 900 University Ave.

Yjastros, now in its 31st season, is an internationally acclaimed flamenco company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“Flamenco is visually exciting with beautiful costumes and powerful dancers whose footwork is extremely complex, elaborate and fast-paced,” said Eva Encinias, National Institute of Flamenco executive director and founder for Yjastros. “The music can be haunting one moment, and jubilant and celebratory in the next.”

Yjastros is a project of the National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque. Joaquin Encincias, Eva Encinias’ son, is the longtime artistic director for the dance company.

“We’re going to be presenting several traditional flamenco solos that allow for improvisations that highlight the high level of skill and technique of the individual dancer’s interpretation of the art form,” Eva Encinias said. “We’ll also be showcasing fantastic choreographies like Cantiñias that illustrate the elegant, elaborate costumes with the long trains often seen in flamenco. Another choreography is Sarruca, a dance that depicts the horse-riding tradition that is so prevalent in Spain, with traditional equestrian costumes.”

Eva Encincias said flamenco is a form of music and dance that comes from Southern Spain in the Andalucia region.

“Flamenco is a highly dramatic form of expression that reflects the experiences and life of Spanish Gypsies dating from the 14th century. Flamenco wasn’t accessible in public venues until the mid-19th and 20th centuries, when it really took off,” Encincias said.

The Yjastros performance includes live music. Eva Encinias is the cantaora, female vocalist, for the show. The musicians are guitarristas, guitarists, Mario Febres and Ricardo Anglada.

“I’ve been a flamenco dancer all my life and have also carried on my mother’s tradition of singing,” said Encinias, who has sung flamenco since the 1980s.

In 2012, Yjastros became the company in residence at the University of New Mexico Dance Program. The two entities collaborate to host master flamenco artists from around the world.

“The caliber of this Yjastros flamenco dance company is exceptional in its beauty and cultural importance,” said Donna Martínez, Ilfeld Auditorium manager. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our Highlands’ students and the community to experience this dynamic flamenco art form that is such a vital part of Spanish heritage.”

Martínez said the Yjastros show is part of the new Arts@HU program that was launched fall semester 2016. Arts@HU is part of the new campus life initiative fee for students aimed at enhancing the vibrancy of the campus experience.

General admission tickets for the Yjastros performance are $12. There is no charge for current Highlands University students with valid IDs. Other students pay $10 and children 12 and younger are $8. Highlands’ faculty and staff are $10.

Advance tickets are available at the university’s KEDP radio station ticket office, Studio 103, 901 University Ave., 10 – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. Or call Martínez at 505-454-3238.