In its twelfth season, Vida Flamenca Xll Festival ‘Cumbre Flamenca’ will be flying in international dance sensation Daniel Ramos from Madrid, Spain to perform at The Eli and Edythe Broad stage (BroadStage) in Santa Monica. Orchestrated by visionary producer Beth Nesbitt, this exhilarating endeavor includes an evening of traditional Spanish food and wine, followed by three sections of the Flamenco art form cante (song), toque (live music), and baile (dance). “Cumbre Flamenca’ will include performances by several talented artists making their Los Angeles debut and some working together for the first time. BroadStage is located at 1310 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401. Tickets are on sale now.
The cast includes, professional prominent dancers Lakshmi Basile, a California native, flamenco female dancer of Spanish distinction known as, “La Chimi,” and International bailador Miguel Ángel Heredia, originally from Cádiz, Spain. The musicians include rhythmic master musician El Yiyi, originally from Barcelona and famed Madrid based guitarist Yerai Cortés. Joining in are local Southern California flamenco dance specialist Ryan Zermeño and community dancers from Zermeño Dance in Goleta, California. Offering an exciting spectrum of flamenco styles starring Daniel Ramos, this Los Angeles premier will be a powerhouse of Spanish segments of traditional through to neoclassical.
I had the chance to speak with Daniel Ramos, one of the hottest flamenco dancers of this generation and currently very busy performing in Spain. In the back of his mind, however, is the knowledge that his very first trip to Los Angeles is occurring soon and that he is very excited to be debuting on the West Coast. During the interview Mr. Ramos speaks in his natural language of Spanish and reveals his past, present and future while following his strengths of expertise, honor, and veracity.
[ED. Note: The artist’s primary language is Spanish and the author included the English translation following the Spanish quotes.]
Mr. Ramos recalls that since the age of three he was idealistically influenced by his older sister Suelen Ramos who danced flamenco. Throughout his formative years he studied classical ballet, four areas of flamenco, and other forms of dance.
“Las quatro ramas de flamenco que estudié son Bolera, Flamenco, Danza Española y Folklórico,” Daniel said. Translation: “The four branches of Flamenco I studied were Bolera, Flamenco, Classical Spanish dance, and Fokloric dance.”
Mr. Ramos went on to include that as a scholarship student at the Ballet Nacional de España School (School of the National Ballet of Spain) in Madrid, he was trained in jazz dance, funk, ballet, contemporary, and modern dance such as Martha Graham work. He clarified that his base is in classical ballet and that he is known as a bailarin, not a bailador. The difference being that the bailarin has classical ballet training while a bailador does not. Mr. Ramos became a company member of the prestige’s National Ballet of Spain under Antonio Najarro, and during his three year tenure there, he would take a full ballet class for warm up before rehearsals.
“El ballet classico me gusta mucho, aparte, yo que bailo escuela bolera, classico es una base fundamental en los pasos, para giros, al final te enriquecer tu baile,” Mr. Ramos declared. Translation: “I really like classical ballet a lot, and since I dance The Bolera school genre, classical ballet is a fundamental base in steps, for turns, finally it enriches your dance.”
Mr. Ramos’s resourceful approach is to constantly be learning, studying, and progressing through his emotional temperament, movement, and choices. “Me gusta, como no quedarme estancado; en algo, siempre como un paso mas allá,” he conveys. Translation: “I don’t like, well to be stagnant; in something, I always well take a step more forward.”
Mr. Ramos feels that he is also constantly learning from his colleagues that he works with in rehearsals and on stage. During our interview, he is direct but courteous and appears driven by his convictions as he talked about reverence in his field and in his craftmanship.
He approaches his words with honorable elaboration. “Siempre con mucho respeto in todas formas. Respeto es importante a mi miso, respeto al publico, respeto en esta entrevista, en el escena y respeto el baile espaniola y a todo el mundo,” he said. Translation: “Always with much respect in all forms. Respect is important to me, respect to the public, respect in this interview, during the show and respect to Spanish dancing and to the whole world.”
Mr. Ramos explains how he must be true to himself, real in the moment, genuine to his person, and to the role he is expressing during a presentation. “Siempre soy yo. En todo lo que yo ago, y en mi different personajes, busco la verdad.” Translation: “I am always me. In all that I do and in my different characters, I look for the truth.”
Many performers in the Spanish dance arena are given a nickname but Mr. Ramos prefers his real name. He exudes ingenuity and imagination as when I asked if he were not dancing, what other profession would he choose? “Siempre des de niño pintava diseño de trajes de flamenco.” Translation: “I always, as a boy, designed flamenco outfits.”
Liking to design flamenco costumes on paper, Mr. Ramos continues helps friends come up with a stage costume. “En mi mente, con una cortina me puedo ser un vestido. En mi mente soy creativo en esa forma,” he added. Translation: “In my mind, from a curtain I could make a dress. I am just imaginative that way.”
Mr. Ramos enjoys all kinds of food, from Japanese to Spanish traditional meals and one of his most favorite dishes is Callos a la madrileña (Usually a tripe recipe). He enjoys eating out with friends, and because he prefers to stay busy, frequents the theater often. Mr. Ramos appreciates classical ballet and is a huge fan of the famed all-male ballet company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo. When asked what his favorite movie was, he stays true to his childhood beloved film Matilda, the 1996 American classic directed and co-produced by Dany DeVito. With a big smile, Mr. Ramos voices that he knows every line in the film and relishes the musical version as well. Matilda is a wonderful story about sticking up for what you believe in, inner growth and personal perseverance.
In preparation, Mr. Ramos does not revue the show’s music before a performance, liking instead to listen to music that helps calm him. Backstage he puts in his AirPods and enjoys the calming music by composers such as Max Richter, Ludovico Einaudi, Jose Almarcha, among others.
In asking what is his favorite section of flamenco that he likes to dance? Mr. Ramos responds, “A vecess una noche me siento mas cómodo bailando Allegrias pero otra noche quiero algo mas de sentimiento? Es como me siento en ese momento. Al final, me gusta bailar Alegrias, y Alegrias con montón.” Translation: “At times, one night, I feel more comfortable dancing Allegrias (joy), but another night, I want something with more emotion? It is how I feel in the moment. In the end, I like to dance the (flamenco section) Alegrias and Allegrias with a large flamenco scarf.”
Mr. Ramos follows his intuition. If dancing alone, he leaves a little choreography open to spontaneously incorporate his feelings into his body. If dancing with others he stays close to the choreography and his understanding with the musician(s).
For one night only on Saturday, June 24th, 2023, Daniel Ramos, and a soul-stirring cast of flamenco artists will take The BroadStage in Santa Monica, California by storm. Not to be missed, the festivities start at 6pm followed by a performance at 8pm.
When asking what he would like to say to the audience in Los Angeles, Mr. Ramos smiles and replies, “I am excited to perform in Los Angeles and I hope the public loves me. A big thank you to Beth Nesbitt and Ana Maria Suarez for this opportunity. See you in Los Angeles!”
Ticket prices range from $38 to $116. To view details and purchase tickets, please click HERE. BroadStage is located at 1310 11th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401.
To learn more about Vida Flamenca Xll Festival ‘Cumbre Flamenca’, please visit their website.
Written by Alice Alyse for LA Dance Chronicle.