Four years ago, out of an impromptu performance by Cielo Vivo, flamenco-Sephardi ensemble with dancer Annalouise Paul and musician Peter Kennard, a one-off dance workshop was offered to audiences to generate gig sales.
And the class has been running ever since.
Annalouise Paul is a Sydney artist who has been travelling to the Mountains every fortnight ever since to teach in Katoomba, Wentworth Falls and Bullaburra. Paul formed Blue Mountains Flamenco as a professionally-run community group and this year sees their first Winter Magic Festival show, gratefully supported by an inaugural Winter Magic community arts grant.
Together they have performed for AusCamino Festival, Wild Warrior Women, Banquet of Dreams, Celebration of Dance, Parramasala Festival and Shine Dance at Scenic World.
Guest teachers from Spain and Australia have been hosted each year to teach for Blue Mountains Flamenco including Manuel Betanzos (Spain), Roshanne Wijeyeratne (Adelaide), Susan Minshull (Brisbane), Stuart Henderson (Sydney) and Tomas Arroquero (Melbourne).
At Winter Magic, Blue Mountains Flamenco will present El Sol Va on June 22. El Sol Va, literally sun going, explores ideas about the sun as it recedes during solstice, using flamenco dance, live guitar and song.
The show will feature local artists including guitarists Robbie Varga and Owen Barrett, flamenco singer Rafael Leon and dancers Julie Humphreys, Louise Holloway, Isabel Garcia, Soraya Cassimaty, Ryn Vlachou, Tanya Ginori, Danielle Bennett as well as Annalouise Paul. Their children's group will perform for the first time too.
At Ironfest on Sunday, April 28, Saln Flamenco will be presented for the first time.
Adventurous, daring, new solo works connecting with the pulse of what's hot in Europe, four Australians - Tomas Arroquero, Maree Laffan, Lisa Maris McDonell and Annalouise Paul - will present short works in the Bohemia Tent from 1-4pm.
Paul is a dancer, teacher and choreographer who has worked internationally and in Australia. She danced for Michael Jackson, Los Angeles Opera, Australian Dance Awards and has taught for NSW Department of Education, Sydney University and Sydney Eisteddfods.