The project was not easy: the current political situation, the lack of competent teachers, the enormous means one must have to organize activities, and most importantly the lack of a locale to use – all contributed to make it a difficult, complicated, almost impossible undertaking.
For the time being, we are located at Beirut - Ain el Mraisseh, Machkhas Building, -2 floor, kindly hosted by "La Nova" academy who provides us with a nice purple studio for our flamenco dancing classes.
FLAMENCO EN BEIRUT:
"Flamenco in Beirut" is known to function as a "peña".
What is a Peña? In the language of flamenco, a peña is a cultural association created and managed by « aficionados » for the purpose of spreading knowledge about flamenco. It also means the site itself, the locale where these same aficionados meet to live together their passion for this art form, share their knowledge, and encourage performances by students and artists. This is exactly the goal I want to reach: create a privileged site where flamenco lovers meet, improve their knowledge of flamenco, practice the dance, play the music, in one word LIVE flamenco.
I also choose to name this organization “Peña Nila Amparo” and this name was not chosen haphazardly. It is traditional in Spain and elsewhere to give a Peña the name of a flamenco artist to whom one wants to pay homage, or advertise a preference or admiration for a specific performer. There exist for example the Peña Sabicas, Carmen Amaya, or Enrique Morente…. I chose Nila Amparo simply because she is a performer of Lebanese origin and probably the only one in her time who had an international career. It is only fair to pay homage to an artist who is little known in her country of origin when she is famous in the USA, her adoptive country.
The Peña offer s dance lessons, and we also offer an exhaustive documentation on flamenco, the most complete in Lebanon. In the future, and if this project is allowed to grow, we will offer guitar classes, shows and various flamenco activities.
This website gives an overview of flamenco: its history, evolution, music, famous interpreters… as well as a description of the “content” of the locale: library, boutique, available classes…
I hope, through this project, that I will be able to share my passion with neophytes, and give knowledgeable flamenco lovers something to sustain their interest and their passion.
I would like to thank the people who have contributed to creating the website, and furnishing the Peña:
Aida Yared (my sister) who translated the texts into English
Dean Leroy and Mikey Badr who proofread the English version
BornInteractive who created this beautiful website
Julien Feytit who explained the design of an ideal flamenco dance floor