About our guest artists

As we say goodbye to what would have been our 4th Festival weekend, we leave you with the story of how José Manuel Ramos, ‘El Oruco’ and his wife Karolina González ‘la Negra’ came to be invited for our 2020 Festival.

Every year we receive questions from students, patrons, and followers about how we select our guest artists and invite them to our Festival. The story is best told through our Artistic Director, Jane Ogilvie.


Dancers Karolina González ‘La Negra’, José Manuel Ramos El Oruco’, and Festival Artistic Director Jane Ogilvie in 2010

In the summer of 2010, I met this couple in a 2 week workshop in Seville organized by Daliris of ‘Flamencos por el Mundo’. It was an amazing and intense 2 weeks of daily dance and rhythm with Concha Vargas, Oruco, Luis Peña, Torombo, and Farruquito. Many of the classes were in spaces like this one: these tiny hole in the wall spaces off of calle Castellar with room for 6 people, a mirror on one wall, a make shift floor, some stairs in the way, and a garage door that stayed open in the heat to at least let some air in.

Dancers Karolina and Oruco (son Juan Manuel in front), Concha Vargas, Torombo

I was so inspired in Oruco’s class that I asked them if they had other regular classes running afterwards. This turned into 2 more weeks of classes for which, because they were in the morning, I was usually the only student. I was already too booked up to switch to their afternoon classes but rather than cancelling the class or charging me more money, they just let me continue on. I ended up basically having private classes every morning with Oruco, challenged in dance like never before while enjoying some of the best soniquete there is. Their eldest daughter was just a baby and their son, Juan Manuel, would hang out around class and play with the ball I brought to stretch with.

It was an experience that changed my perspective and was a defining moment for me on this crazy journey we call flamenco and life. I’m sure she doesn’t remember, but when we said goodbye that summer, Karolina told me they also travel to teach and if I ever wanted to bring them to Canada they would love to come. The seed was planted in my mind.

Dance class in 2012

It’s now 10 years later and it was an absolute thrill to invite them here for our festival this year. Whenever I am in Spain these are the people I return to over and over again. As every one of their students knows, it’s not just their incredible skill, deadly technique class, or the best rhythm class ever, that brings us back. It’s their energy and the energy of their studio. They are some of the kindest and most generous teachers and people I’ve met and they have worked really hard to build their school and studio Formarteflamenco.

Rhythm class in 2012

To be able to share them with Edmonton audiences and students was really a dream come true for me. It was so exciting to be able to offer them the incredible space that is the Winspear Centre as a place to showcase their art. Cancelling this year’s festival is really heartbreaking for all involved. It’s a loss of work for the artists and is frankly a devastating loss for our festival. The shock of discovering our covid-19 related insurance problem right as we were discussing checking them in for their flights … if you could only imagine how kind they were to me as we tried to work this crisis out.

View of the neighbourhood of Triana in Seville.

I invited them to the festival over coffee when I was last in Seville in 2018. You could say this was 2 years in the making but isn’t it really at least 10? Do we even count all the years of study that gets a student to the level that they end up in these classes in the first place? What about all the years of study and dedication that all of my teachers put in so that I could learn from them? What about the years of work all of these people, in all of our communities, have dedicated to building aficion, community, audiences, and students so that any of this can happen?

To survive in the arts takes thoughtful planning, dedication, perseverance, and beyond all a love/need/desire to continue. It is not always an easy journey but I can say that it is much easier when you have good people around you. I am grateful for every artist our festival has ever invited, many of whom were not only writing with moral support but actually helping me out from overseas as we sorted this mess out. We are heartbroken that we could not bring this year’s artists to Edmonton. It would have been an amazing festival.

As artists, we are all working so hard to keep the Arts alive and thriving. Thank you for all your support!

Jane Ogilvie
Artistic Director
Edmonton Flamenco Festival


Of interest – Flamenco artist names can seem very odd to non-flamencos, even Spanish speakers! They are often given by an established artist/teacher or are just nicknames relating to something about a person’s looks. Here are some clues as to this year’s artists’ names:

José Manuel Ramos was given his name ‘El Oruco’ by singer El Moreno, husband of La Farruca and father to dancers Farruquito, Farru, and their siblings. In Oruco’s words “The purest thing we have here in Andalucia is the olive tree. ‘Oruco’ is the word for a young olive tree in the Caló language (language of the gitanos of southern Europe). We made a show: ‘The gnomes of flamenco’ and we were: El Farru, El Polito, me … and, of course, I needed a stage name and that’s when Moreno gave me ‘Oruco’. ”

Click here to catch a clip of these artists at the start of their careers, rehearsing for this show. Oruco at the age of 13!

Karolina González is called ‘La Negra’ because when she was a young girl she was very dark-skinned with black hair. It is a common nickname in Spain, used with affection, similar to the Spanish term ‘morena’.

José ‘El Pechuguita’ is named after his father, singer-songwriter and composer ‘El Pechuga’ who has collaborated with world renowned artists such as BB King, Kiko Veneno, Triana, Varon Rojo and Raimundo Amador. In Pechuguita’s words, “He was named that because his group was called ‘Los Pechuguitas’. Once at a concert it was very hot and they took off their T-shirts and were left with their chests exposed. The audience was screaming ‘pechuguitas! pechuguitas!’ and the name stuck.” (it’s a bit of slang we’ll leave to your imagination)


Our 2020 festival is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Artists arrive in one week!

Do you have your tickets yet?
Mainstage show – one night only – March 13!

Direct from Spain
El Oruco and Guests in “Sevilla en Blanco y Negro”
March 13, 2020 – 8pm
at the Winspear Centre

Tickets $60 – available through the Winspear Box Office
Online click here
By Phone: 780-428-1414
Toll Free: 1-800-563-5081


Remember how much fun we had in class singing with Ismael Fernández last year? Check out the class video that just arrived in our inbox! What a gift to have him back in Edmonton.

Our weekend cante and compás classes are now full. Just a few spots left in the baile classes. Don’t miss out on the chance to learn from our guest artists!

Are you new to flamenco and wanting to test the waters? Our introductory level dance with Karolina González ‘La Negra’ is for you. Guitar classes are being organized by indication of interest (info at workshop link below).

Workshop Information and Registration can be found at this link.


Coming in from out of town? Festival partner the Chateau Lacombe offers Festival guests a special discounted room rate. Click here for information.

Chateau Lacombe logo

Chateau Lacombe is the Exclusive Host Hotel of the Edmonton Flamenco Festival Performers.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.


Our 2020 festival is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

3 weeks until the Festival!

‘El Oruco’

Mainstage show – one night only!
Do you have your tickets yet?

Direct from Spain
El Oruco and Guests in “Sevilla en Blanco y Negro”
March 13, 2020 – 8pm
at the Winspear Centre

Tickets $60 – available through the Winspear Box Office
Online click here
By Phone: 780-428-1414
Toll Free: 1-800-563-5081


2019 program page 6 – 7

Advertise in our program for the mainstage show March 13, 2020 at the Winspear!

Engage with our audience while they are enthralled by a captivating performance by international flamenco artists in the world-class theatre that is the Winspear Centre.

Important Deadlines:

Feb 28th – Deadline for all supplied program content (ads/ text/images/sponsor logos)
February 29th – Deadline for payment

More information and a look at our 2019 program can be found at this link.


Workshops have begun filling up. Are you new to flamenco and wanting to test the waters? Our introductory level dance with Karolina González ‘La Negra’ or song with José ‘El Pechuguita’ is for you. Guitar classes are being organized by indication of interest (info at workshop link below).

Workshop Information and Registration can be found at this link.


Coming in from out of town? Festival partner the Chateau Lacombe offers Festival guests a special discounted room rate. Click here for information.

Chateau Lacombe logo


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Tickets now on sale for our March 2020 festival!

Just in time for Christmas. Give the gift of tickets to our mainstage performance, an intimate evening of traditional Spanish flamenco at the Winspear Centre on March 13.

The 4th annual Edmonton Flamenco Festival presents

EL ORUCO AND GUESTS

Mainstage show – one night only!

“Sevilla en Blanco y Negro”
March 13, 2020 – 8pm
at the Winspear Centre

Tickets $60 – available through the Winspear Box Office
Online click here
By Phone: 780-428-1414
Toll Free: 1-800-563-5081

Direct from Spain, the 4th annual Edmonton Flamenco Festival presents flamenco dancer El Oruco and invited artists in an intimate evening of traditional Spanish flamenco song, dance, and guitar.

Featuring
José Manuel Ramos “El Oruco”– Dancer
Karolina González “La Negra” – Dancer
Jonathan Reyes – Singer
José ‘El Pechuguita’  – Singer
José Luis Medina – Guitarist

Born in Seville, El Oruco has performed in international flamenco festivals in Europe and the United States with renowned flamenco artists such as Israel Galván, Rocío Molina, Rosario ¨La Tremendita¨, Esperanza Fernández, Pastora Galván, Argentina, Concha Jareño and José Ángel Carmona, among others.

In the words of world renowned dancer Rocio Molina – “As a dancer I define his image as that of a wild boar, I like him because he has that aggressiveness, that school, he has a strangeness of sweetness that is something that I find rare. He has a delicacy and sweetness in contrast to his image and his physique, which takes you away, it surprises you … He is very complete, El Oruco has it all.”

Read more about the artists at this link.

Workshops with our guest artists are planned for March 14th and 15th. Information coming soon.