Arts & Events

8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival
Festival Flamenco Gitano
September 21-October 6, 2013

Saturday September 14, 2013 - 11:11:00 AM

The Bay Area Flamenco Festival Invites you to experience deeply authentic Gypsy flamenco direct from Spain, first-hand in an intimate setting.

"Exhilarating..." The New York Times The 8th Annual Bay Area Flamenco Festival features world-class artists from Spain on three consecutive weekends in Berkeley. Festival opening night is this coming Saturday, September 21 and features a highly anticipated performance by living legend of Gypsy flamenco dance, Concha Vargas at La Peña Cultural Center. The show starts at 8pm and earlier in the evening Ñora Spanish Cuisine is taking over La Peña Café for a pop-up 5-course Andalusian-inspired dinner. Weekend two features a homecoming concert Sunday, September 29th at 8pm celebrating internationally renowned guitarist David Serva Jones’s 50 plus years in flamenco at the Freight & Salvage. And the Festival closing weekend features a performance on Saturday October 5th at 8pm by rising star Gypsy dancer Gema Moneo from Jerez de la Frontera at the Thurst Stage of the Berkeley Repertory Theater. The Festival has also arranged for a series of workshops and master classes on Saturdays Sept 21 — Oct 5 at the Ashkenaz and Berkeley's Casa Latina Bakery. Plus there will be a special event showcasing the acclaimed photography collection, Flamenco Project edited by guitarist/photographer Steve Kahn on Thursday, September 27th at 7pm at La Peña Cultural Center.


"These artists are bringing the Gitano essence of flamenco into the 21st century,” explains Festival director Nina Menendez. “They have an ease for improvisation that comes from living the art as part of everyday life. No choreography is required, only an intimate connection among the dancers and musicians who interact freely on the basis of a shared legacy and an insatiable hunger to find the spark of duende that transforms the mundane into the sublime.” 

THE BAY AREA FLAMENCO FESTIVAL/FESTIVAL FLAMENCO GITANO is recognized as one of the most vibrant flamenco festivals in the United States. Celebrating Spanish Gypsy music and dance as a living culture and a legacy of world stature, the Festival has presented some of the most important figures in the history of flamenco as well as prodigies from today’s generation of artists. Founded in 2005, the Festival has grown into a popular and vital annual Bay Area cultural event, drawing over 3000 world music and dance enthusiasts each year. 

“In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area has become a major U.S. conduit for Spain’s greatest flamenco artists. […] There’s really a vibrant scene here and Nina Menéndez has become a major force [as] the producer of the Bay Area Flamenco Festival. - NPR The California Report 

Prices for performances start at $30 and tickets for all Festival events and workshops may be purchased at For more information call (510) 444-2820 




CONCHA VARGAS, Icon of Gypsy Flamenco Dance Direct from Lebrija, Spain 

Saturday, Sept. 21 8pm : La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley 

An icon of Gypsy flamenco dance, CONCHA VARGAS has it all: flamenco essence, temperament, charisma, rhythmic creativity, expressivity, skill and absolute confidence on stage. Her dancing is rooted in improvisation and expression, revitalizing and reinventing her cultural legacy without an ounce of artifice, making each one of her performances an unforgettable experience for all audiences. 



Celebrating over 50 Years in Flamenco, DAVID SERVA Godfather of Bay Area Flamenco Guitar 

Sunday, Sept 29 8pm : Freight & Salvage, Berkeley 

This concert is a celebration of David Serva's foundational influence on the flamenco community of the Bay Area. A Bay Area native who has lived and worked in Spain as a professional flamenco guitarist for most of his life, David Serva has built a singular style on the artistic legacy of his maestro, Gypsy guitarist Diego del Gastor (1908-1973). Serva will be joined by a group of musicians and dancers from Spain including Jose Galvez "El Duende", Kina Mendez, Javier Heredia and Luis de la Tota. 



A slideshow & roundtable discussion

Thursday, Sept 26th, 7pm: La Peña Cultural Center, Berkeley 

Vintage images from the acclaimed collection edited by guitarist/photographer Steve Kahn will spark discussion among a group of artists and flamenco aficionados who lived in Spain in the 1960s & 70s. Panelists include Steve Kahn, David Serva, Paul Shalmy, Jill Bacán, Mica Graña and Kenny Parker 


GEMA MONEO, Rising Star of Gypsy Flamenco Dance from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain 

Friday, Oct 4 8pm : Brava Theater, San Francisco 

Saturday, Oct 5 8pm : Thrust Stage, Berkeley Repertory Theatre 

Gema Moneo is from the legendary Moneo clan of Gypsy flamenco singers and guitarists in Jerez de la Frontera. Niece of the famed singer El Torta, she grew up in the middle of an ongoing flamenco fiesta with constant singing and dancing at home and at family gatherings. At the age of 18 she joined Farruquito's company and has appeared with him all over Spain and at festivals including the Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla. Last year Gema debuted in the US with the all-star ensemble led by Diego del Morao, Fiesta Jerez at Festival Flamenco Gitano USA. 


Nina Menéndez, Festival founder & Artistic Director, has a life-long passion for flamenco. She has a PhD in Cultural Studies (Stanford University, 1993) and her paternal grandparents were from Spain where she has cultivated deep ties to the flamenco community. She serves as director of Bay Area Flamenco, organizing numerous flamenco concerts, workshops and cultural exchange opportunities throughout the year and sharing her profound respect for the art of flamenco. She is an active member of the Bay Area arts scene and maintains a lively network of community relations and volunteers.