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Delta dancers attend Festival de Flamenco

If the flamenco world could have an Olympic Games, it would be the annual Festival de Flamenco in Jerez, Spain.
Students from Los Gitanos with teacher Bev Mantovani (front left) and workshop instructor Beatriz Morales (centre) at the Festival de Flamenco in Jerez, Spain.

If the flamenco world could have an Olympic Games, it would be the annual Festival de Flamenco in Jerez, Spain.

In its 18th installment, this event attracted 31,000 participants and spectators from 38 countries for 134 different flamenco-related activities over a two-week period.

Tsawwassen’s Los Gitanos School of Spanish Dance was well represented at the festival.

“It is so inspiring and important to attend this international event where we have the opportunity to learn and interact with top instructors in all areas of the flamenco world,” said Bev Mantovani, owner and teacher at Los Gitanos.

“I am so proud that nine of my students were able to attend and expand their knowledge and exposure to this incredible and ever-evolving art form.”
Mantovani and students attended a variety of workshops and performances by Spain’s greatest flamenco dancers and teachers.

“Nothing compares to being immersed in this world right in the heart of Andalucia,” explained Mantovani. “The days start with all-day workshops, which are hard and intense. When you think you can go no further, you have only a short time to rest, and after an amazing dinner enjoyed with great local wines, the evening awaits with a variety of fiestas and performances.”

The Tsawwassen students were well trained to join the ranks of other international students, even with a language barrier to contend with. The skills they’ve learned at Los Gitanos allowed them to participate on equal terms and gain knowledge in various dance workshops.

The students included Delta residents Francis Bantly, Lori Hooper, Coral De Shield, Annika Buffam, Kareen McKinnon and Claire Aston as well as Carol Coulson (Burnaby), Jolayne St-Jacques (White Rock) and Michael Clark (Nanaimo).

“I am so proud of my students for completing their workshops and having the passion to continue to grow in their flamenco experience,” said Mantovani. “They have lived the true meaning of flamenco dance and its rhythm where it all started.”

Mantovani and Los Gitanos are preparing for their annual dance presentation at the Tsawwassen Arts Centre May 23 to 25.  This year the performance celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela by fusing South African rhythms with a flamenco flair. Tickets are available by calling 604-948-8081 or email