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Alhambra Performing Arts Center (APAC), under the direction of Chef/Artistic Director Bill Yee, presents the exciting Flamenco Nights featuring award-winning Juan Talavera and his internationally renowned dance troupe in a free concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, June 24, at Sage Granada Park United Methodist Church, 1850 W. Hellman Ave., Alhambra.
Award-winning Le Cordon Bleu Chef Yee is also the owner of Alhambra Culinary School, and his chefs will prepare refreshments for the audience during the intermission, when there will be a free-will offering to support the artists. The next Intro to Culinary Class, which includes a full chef uniform, knife set, and more will be Saturday, June 23. There is space for up to 12 students. E-mail Chef Yee for reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Juan Talavera (Los Angeles) dancer, choreographer, director, and master teacher, a pioneer in California’s flamenco community, has studied and performed with many of the leading Spanish flamenco masters and performed for more than 15 years in Santa Barbara during the city-wide Fiesta celebrations. He tours with his company and continues to make artistic contributions to the development of the next generation of flamencos.
Mr. Talavera is a native of East Los Angeles where, at the age of 12, he began his initial studies of flamenco with the famous master Antonio Triana. In later years, he studied with Luisa Triana, Ciro, Manolo Marin, and Jose Galván, all prominent flamenco masters. In the early 1960s Mr. Talavera first performed at the landmark El Paseo Restaurant in the heart of Santa Barbara’s cultural district. Later in the 1960s, he performed at the Lobero Theatre, where he was introduced by Fiesta’s El Presidente Dr. Michael Lemus. Mr. Talavera, and his company of Spanish and flamenco dancers returned to the Lobero during Fiesta for 15 consecutive years, a record that has not been equaled by anyone since.
He was one of the first flamenco dance teachers in Santa Barbara, working with the Rose Mary Cruz and Kathy Cota dance studios. He still performs during Old Spanish Days’ La Fiesta Pequeña at the Santa Barbara Mission. Mr. Talavera has also performed as guest artist with Antonio Triana, Luisa Triana, Carmen Mora, Rosa Montoya, Lourdes Rodriguez, Linda Vega, María Bermudez, Yolanda Arroyo, La Tania, Yaelisa, and Lola Montes. In motion pictures and television, he has performed with many of Hollywood’s leading stars, such as Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Edward James Olmos, John Wayne, Andy Garcia, Bob Hope, and many others. He also appeared in the daytime TV drama, General Hospital.
To expand his knowledge of flamenco, he has participated in workshops offered in California by Spanish artists in residence, such as Juana Amaya, María Del Mar Moreno, Juan de Juan, Andres Peña, and with a current giant in flamenco, Antonio Canales. To further his studies of flamenco, Mr. Talavera travels to Spain to attend the annual Jerez Flamenco Festival, where he studies with Manolete, Angelita Gomez, Ana María Gonzales, Javier La Torre, and Javier Barón. In Sevilla, a major center of flamenco, Mr. Talavera continues to meet and study with some of the most acclaimed flamenco masters, such as Angel Atienza and Manuel Betanzos.
Like all dedicated artists, he feels there is always more to learn and plans to attend the Jerez Flamenco Festival 2010, not only to enjoy the performances, but also to keep abreast with current developments in flamenco. With his companies, Flamenco Bravo! and The Men of Flamenco, Mr. Talavera appears in concerts and operas throughout California. He choreographed the Orange County Performing Arts Center’s production of Bizet’s opera Carmen, and he appeared in the 2004 and 2008 productions of Carmen for L. A. Opera at the Music Center.
In 2009, The Men of Flamenco will perform in October in Whittier, and Mr. Talavera is set to appear in The Barber of Seville in November. Mr. Talavera remains dedicated to the work he has done tirelessly for decades — helping to build future generations of flamenco artists by teaching Spanish and flamenco dance at his studio in Whittier. He continues with his first passion — dancing flamenco with enormous passion and success.
Dancers: Misuda Cohen, Rosal Ortega, Vanessa Albalos, Nancy Najera, and Juan Talavera.
Singers: Jesus Montoya and Linda Cuevas.
Guitarists: Jose Tanaka and Edwin Luevanos.