Tuesday, March 8, 2011


viva_FlamencoViva Flamenco in Tenacidad

WHEN: Friday, March 18, at 8 PM
Westminster Arts Center, Bloomfield College, 449 Franklin Street, Bloomfield, NJ.
TICKETS: $20, Seniors & students $15, 973.748.9008, ext. 279


To some Flamenco is an acquired taste like smelly cheese or raw oysters.  But to Toni Messina, originally from Union, New Jersey, and director of the company, Viva Flamenco, flamenco drew her attention from the first she ever saw it—on the Ed Sullivan show, danced by Jose Greco some 30 years ago. “It was like a bug bite.  Once it got into me, I couldn’t stop scratching,” she said.     

Messina, who attended Union High School from 1974 to 1978, formed the company Viva Flamenco when she moved back to New Jersey in 2001. “I had my career as a lawyer and dabbled in flamenco my whole life, but I saw New Jersey as new terrain, where I could develop a student base and bring some of the best talent in the tri-state region to the area to perform.”

Originally a dance of self-validation and protest from the gypsies of southern Spain, flamenco is a fiery mixture of music, song and dance.

“A lot of people who haven’t been exposed to it are shocked the first time they see it.  It’s so moving and strong, not what they expected.  Some people see it as corny, but it’s anything but.  It’s deeply personal. The best flamenco can move you to tears or make you laugh out loud.”

Her upcoming show, starring well-known flamenco talents from the New York area is called Tenacidad, not only because of the tenacity it takes any performer to make it in today’s fund-starved arts scene, but because of the tenacity it’s taken the three main dancers, Messina, Liliana Morales, a well-known older dancer who’s performed with flamenco greats like Jose Greco over the past 40 years, and Sol La Argentinita, a bright light on the New York scene, to keep dancing in spite of the odds of success.

“Each flamenco troop is unique, but in this show we’re bringing together three dancers with very different styles to demonstrate the uniqueness of the dance and the power of the individual.”