Keep the duende alive
The accolades heaped on dancer and choreographer María Benítez are as overwhelming as the whirl of bata de cola skirts, the rush of mantilla veils, and the clicking of castanets during a flamenco performance. But after you take off the make-up and fold up the fan, what stands out is Benítez’s dedication to passing on her love and knowledge of dance and other art forms. Benítez and her husband, Cecilio, established the Institute for Spanish Arts in 1972, a nonprofit with a mission to preserve Hispanic music, dance, theater, and visual arts through classes and performance opportunities. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 21, the Institute presents performances of Spanish classical, regional, and flamenco dance and music by its students — including Flamenco’s Next Generation — and a few guest performers. It’s all part of an effort to raise money for a new studio space and to benefit the institute’s scholarship and educational programs. The event includes a silent auction, a cash bar, and homecooked Spanish and New Mexican food. The festivities take place at the Scottish Rite Center, 463 Paseo de Peralta. Tickets, $15 and $5 for children, are available by calling 470-7828, at Kicks Dancewear (801 Cerrillos Road), and at the door.
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