The End

© Marc J Chalifoux Photography 2018

Our final message…
Nothing lasts forever and having the pandemic arrive 2 days before and cancel our 4th festival was the end of the road for us. Sorting everything out in the aftermath has taken some time due to the pandemic and now we are finally able to publicly say goodbye.

We had a fantastic 3 festivals hosting incredible artists from Spain on the Winspear Centre stage. We enjoyed so many bright moments of workshops, community outreach, fundraiser performances and flashmobs. We overcame some incredible obstacles and celebrated some stunning moments with the help of our amazing coordinators, volunteers, donors, sponsors, partners, funders and Board members.

We had the privilege of working with some wonderful photographers; videographers; graphic designers; PR teams; artist managers; theatre technicians; floor builders; dance studios; local schools; travel agents; the incredible staff at the Winspear; dancers, singers, musicians, and teachers from our local and national community … the list goes on and on. It has been an amazing ride.

We are so grateful to everyone that supported us from the moment we began planning in 2015 to just this past week as we finished editing the video from our 2019 festival. Our website and social media remain as an archive of everything we accomplished.

Thank you and goodbye…
Jane Ogilvie – Artistic Director


Video of our 2019 Festival

Before we say goodbye we are excited to share a video summary of our last actual festival in 2019. We’ve just finished editing the amazing evening with Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez Flamenco Company at the Winspear Centre. It was an absolute joy to revisit this stunning performance and we are so proud to share this video compilation of the evening with you.

“Tierra Flamenca” – Sonia Olla & Ismael Fernandez Flamenco Company at the Winspear Centre, the mainstage show of our 2019 Festival.

Sonia Olla – dancer
Ismael Fernández – singer
Pol Vaquero – dancer
Jonatan Reyes Jiménez – singer
Víctor Márquez “El Tomate” – guitarist

Video Recording – Marc J Chalifoux & Ian Jackson/Epic Photography
Video Editing – Jane Ogilvie

Our 2019 festival was supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

Thanking our Festival Team

We would like to take a moment to thank our Board and our Volunteer Coordinators. Our Board meets regularly throughout the year and our Volunteer Coordinators have been helping us out as needed since late August.

Thank you to our fantastic board and all the work they do for us year round!

President – Meilai Ha
Meilai has held various leadership roles in corporate services with the City of Edmonton, Alberta Health Services, and Covenant Health. Currently, she is Project Manager, Strategic Implementation for the City of Edmonton. Her spare time is spent playing sports and enjoying the beautiful Edmonton patios.

Vice-President – Sue Lawrence
Sue Lawrence is the Outreach Nurse for the George Spady Society Clinical Access Team. She’s served as a volunteer in many different roles in Edmonton and abroad including crisis counsellor, blues music writer, and sports coach.

Secretary – Lisa Guirguis
Lisa Guirguis is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta. She conducts pharmacy practice research that influences health policy and supports pharmacists’ roles in patient-centred care. At home, she enjoys piano and gardening.

Treasurer – Stephanie Ibach
Stephanie Ibach is an accountant, and teaches at MacEwan University where she is an Associate Professor in the department of Accounting and Finance. She also leads seminars for candidates in the CPA designation process, and develops materials for various publishers. Her spare time is spent playing the piano and flute.

Member at large – Bryce Stewart
Bryce Stewart has worked for the Government of Alberta since 2006. He has served in a number of executive roles and is currently Senior Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health.

Shout out to our amazing Volunteer Coordinators and all the work they’ve done for us! Jim Findlay for coordination of guitar classes and connecting with the guitar community. Irena Dumicz and Sandra Mattar for connecting with the greater Edmonton community and our sponsors.

Guitar Coordinator – Jim Findlay
Jim has been involved in music all of his adult life. He took many years of classical piano study in his youth and string bass in junior high with Mary Cockell. He studied guitar performance and theory Grant MacEwan University. Jim plays flamenco guitar and has two groups; Spiral Flamenco and Harmonic Flamenco. He is a member of the Edmonton Classical Guitar society and the Flamenco Society of Edmonton.

Community Partnership – Irena Dumicz
Irena works as an Area Manager for Pacesetter Homes in Edmonton. She has been studying flamenco art with local and international artist across Canada as well as prominent flamenco teachers in Spain. Throughout the years, Irena has also been involved in flamenco communities in Halifax(NS), Kelowna (BC), and Edmonton (AB) as a flamenco performer, teacher and organizer.

Community Partnership – Sandra Mattar
Sandra is an avid fan of Flamenco dance and music and is thrilled to be a part of the festival team. As a former business owner (Headcase Hats on Whyte Ave & Little Italy Café in Acheson), she knows the benefits of community involvement firsthand. Sandra’s passion is to connect business with community in ways that benefit everyone!

Our 2020 festival is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

Thanking our Festival Supporters

We would like to take a moment to thank some of the supporters behind this year’s cancelled Festival. Our Festival relies quite heavily on ticket sales but could not exist without added support. Please take a moment to read through and have a look at the incredible organizations that have come forward to support us. Some of them have lost quite a bit of business due our cancellation and of course many have now lost even more due to our current global situation. It’s important to celebrate the organizations and businesses that recognize how fundamental the Arts are in our lives.  Make sure you read to the end of the list where we explain the importance of a good PR team!

All logos link to the website of each organization.

Our Funders:

We love our funders the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

Can you imagine being in full on crisis mode and receiving immediate communication like this from one of your funders? “Please be assured that we continue to value our ongoing relationship with the Festival. When there is any doubt we will always land on the side of the artist or the organization we support.” And then another email asking if there’s any way they can help you right away?

The Arts community in Edmonton is very lucky to have such a fantastic arts council. We can’t rave enough about them.


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. The Council champions and invests in artistic excellence through a broad range of grants, services, prizes and payments to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations. Its work ensures that excellent, vibrant and diverse art and literature engages Canadians, enriches their communities and reaches markets around the world. The Council also raises public awareness and appreciation of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities. It is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO in Canada to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.

Our Media Partner:

We were so proud to have VivaYEGLatino as our offical media partner for the 2020 festival! VivaYEGLatino brings the Latino community together, providing Spanish language resources and programming to those looking to connect with Latino services, organizations, groups and events happening in the capital region.

Our Partners:

Chateau Lacombe logo             

Our Festival Partner the Chateau Lacombe Hotel has been the Exclusive Host Hotel of the Edmonton Flamenco Festival Performers since 2018. They have also offered our out of town Festival guests a special discounted room rate during the weekend AND provided a room for guitar and cante classes when needed.

Located in downtown Edmonton, the Chateau Lacombe offers spectacular panoramic views of the North Saskatchewan River valley and is home to Edmonton’s only rooftop revolving restaurant on the 24th floor, La Ronde. The hotel is within 10 min walking distance of the Winspear, with convenient routes to cross the river by bus or car for our classes.



Did you know the Winspear Centre has been our Festival Partner since the very beginning? Our Festival wouldn’t be where it is today without their support. Their partnership and belief in our vision gave us the boost we needed to start off on the right foot. The Winspear concert hall is our dream space for our mainstage event and we’re thrilled to have it associated with our Festival’s reputation. Our guest artists always comment at length about what an incredible venue it is to perform in and how professionally they were treated by the Winspear team.

As non-profit organizations, the Winspear Centre and Edmonton Symphony Orchestra rely on donations from the community to continue to deliver exceptional experiences through concerts, events, and outreach programs like the ones offered by the Tommy Banks Centre for Musical Creativity.

Our Sponsors:

SABOR Restaurant was sponsor and host to our celebratory wrap up dining event for our 2019 Flamenco Artists and what an amazing feast they put on! We had a private room with 30 guests and the Sabor team rolled out plates and plates of various and sumptuous offerings. Our guests of honour were treated to Sabor’s stunning seafood platter, steak and more. Our Spanish Artists were amazed at the freshness, flavour and presentation of the meals! Most of all, they felt truly honoured and recognized for all the hard work and dedication they put into their craft. We are very honoured to have an establishment like Sabor, extend their appreciation for the arts through sponsorship of our Festival. They agreed to sponsor us again this year for our 2020 Festival and we are so grateful and very sad that we weren’t able to make it happen.



Shoutout to our studio sponsor Marr Mac Dance for their continued support over the years – they agreed again this year to sponsor studio time for our weekend workshops and we are so grateful for all their support since the very first Festival.

Marr-Mac Dance & Theatre Arts offers an alternative studio atmosphere that trains dancers from 3 years to pre-professional level. They offer both recreational and competitive programs in a variety of disciplines in keeping with their philosophy to provide a supportive atmosphere in which to encourage students of all abilities.

Our Supporters:

Our friends at the Edmonton Classical Guitar Society let us have program inserts and an information table at one of their concerts leading up to the festival. It’s a great time to promote our event and broaden our audience.

The Edmonton Classical Guitar Society is a registered non-profit organization that provides a forum for listening, learning, performing and teaching. They arrange concerts and masterclasses with internationally and nationally acclaimed virtuosi, and host informal events at which society members can play for each other and talk about music.

Our PR team:

There are not enough words to tell you how fantastic our PR friends at Bangel PR are. Wondering how we end up on tv and radio so much before the Festival? Wondering how we end up in the 10 best things to do this week or on the front page of the Edmonton Journal? Wondering how our social media is so coordinated and well thought out in the weeks leading up to the Festival? It’s this awesome team.

They also totally saved us when we had to cancel the Festival. You can imagine what a crisis it is to cancel something like this and how much has to be dealt with immediately. It’s a very emotional moment and a stressful thing to coordinate. They were on it right away and coordinated our media release, social media accounts, overall message about what had happened, and how refunds were being handled. They let all our upcoming media know to pull our spots, stopped our facebook and Instagram ads, AND got us on tv that very day.

Catherine Bangel and her team were in constant contact with our Artistic Director as she sorted this out and even thought to intersperse messages of support and encouragement all day long while we were putting out fires. We are truly impressed with all they have done for us.

We are very grateful for all of this support and sad to miss out on this year’s Festival with five truly wonderful artists and people. It would have been a privilege to host El Oruco and his guests.

About our guest artists

As we say goodbye to what would have been our 4th Festival weekend, we leave you with the story of how José Manuel Ramos, ‘El Oruco’ and his wife Karolina González ‘la Negra’ came to be invited for our 2020 Festival.

Every year we receive questions from students, patrons, and followers about how we select our guest artists and invite them to our Festival. The story is best told through our Artistic Director, Jane Ogilvie.

Dancers Karolina González ‘La Negra’, José Manuel Ramos El Oruco’, and Festival Artistic Director Jane Ogilvie in 2010

In the summer of 2010, I met this couple in a 2 week workshop in Seville organized by Daliris of ‘Flamencos por el Mundo’. It was an amazing and intense 2 weeks of daily dance and rhythm with Concha Vargas, Oruco, Luis Peña, Torombo, and Farruquito. Many of the classes were in spaces like this one: these tiny hole in the wall spaces off of calle Castellar with room for 6 people, a mirror on one wall, a make shift floor, some stairs in the way, and a garage door that stayed open in the heat to at least let some air in.

Dancers Karolina and Oruco (son Juan Manuel in front), Concha Vargas, Torombo

I was so inspired in Oruco’s class that I asked them if they had other regular classes running afterwards. This turned into 2 more weeks of classes for which, because they were in the morning, I was usually the only student. I was already too booked up to switch to their afternoon classes but rather than cancelling the class or charging me more money, they just let me continue on. I ended up basically having private classes every morning with Oruco, challenged in dance like never before while enjoying some of the best soniquete there is. Their eldest daughter was just a baby and their son, Juan Manuel, would hang out around class and play with the ball I brought to stretch with.

It was an experience that changed my perspective and was a defining moment for me on this crazy journey we call flamenco and life. I’m sure she doesn’t remember, but when we said goodbye that summer, Karolina told me they also travel to teach and if I ever wanted to bring them to Canada they would love to come. The seed was planted in my mind.

Dance class in 2012

It’s now 10 years later and it was an absolute thrill to invite them here for our festival this year. Whenever I am in Spain these are the people I return to over and over again. As every one of their students knows, it’s not just their incredible skill, deadly technique class, or the best rhythm class ever, that brings us back. It’s their energy and the energy of their studio. They are some of the kindest and most generous teachers and people I’ve met and they have worked really hard to build their school and studio Formarteflamenco.

Rhythm class in 2012

To be able to share them with Edmonton audiences and students was really a dream come true for me. It was so exciting to be able to offer them the incredible space that is the Winspear Centre as a place to showcase their art. Cancelling this year’s festival is really heartbreaking for all involved. It’s a loss of work for the artists and is frankly a devastating loss for our festival. The shock of discovering our covid-19 related insurance problem right as we were discussing checking them in for their flights … if you could only imagine how kind they were to me as we tried to work this crisis out.

View of the neighbourhood of Triana in Seville.

I invited them to the festival over coffee when I was last in Seville in 2018. You could say this was 2 years in the making but isn’t it really at least 10? Do we even count all the years of study that gets a student to the level that they end up in these classes in the first place? What about all the years of study and dedication that all of my teachers put in so that I could learn from them? What about the years of work all of these people, in all of our communities, have dedicated to building aficion, community, audiences, and students so that any of this can happen?

To survive in the arts takes thoughtful planning, dedication, perseverance, and beyond all a love/need/desire to continue. It is not always an easy journey but I can say that it is much easier when you have good people around you. I am grateful for every artist our festival has ever invited, many of whom were not only writing with moral support but actually helping me out from overseas as we sorted this mess out. We are heartbroken that we could not bring this year’s artists to Edmonton. It would have been an amazing festival.

As artists, we are all working so hard to keep the Arts alive and thriving. Thank you for all your support!

Jane Ogilvie
Artistic Director
Edmonton Flamenco Festival

Of interest – Flamenco artist names can seem very odd to non-flamencos, even Spanish speakers! They are often given by an established artist/teacher or are just nicknames relating to something about a person’s looks. Here are some clues as to this year’s artists’ names:

José Manuel Ramos was given his name ‘El Oruco’ by singer El Moreno, husband of La Farruca and father to dancers Farruquito, Farru, and their siblings. In Oruco’s words “The purest thing we have here in Andalucia is the olive tree. ‘Oruco’ is the word for a young olive tree in the Caló language (language of the gitanos of southern Europe). We made a show: ‘The gnomes of flamenco’ and we were: El Farru, El Polito, me … and, of course, I needed a stage name and that’s when Moreno gave me ‘Oruco’. ”

Click here to catch a clip of these artists at the start of their careers, rehearsing for this show. Oruco at the age of 13!

Karolina González is called ‘La Negra’ because when she was a young girl she was very dark-skinned with black hair. It is a common nickname in Spain, used with affection, similar to the Spanish term ‘morena’.

José ‘El Pechuguita’ is named after his father, singer-songwriter and composer ‘El Pechuga’ who has collaborated with world renowned artists such as BB King, Kiko Veneno, Triana, Varon Rojo and Raimundo Amador. In Pechuguita’s words, “He was named that because his group was called ‘Los Pechuguitas’. Once at a concert it was very hot and they took off their T-shirts and were left with their chests exposed. The audience was screaming ‘pechuguitas! pechuguitas!’ and the name stuck.” (it’s a bit of slang we’ll leave to your imagination)

Our 2020 festival is supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton.

We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts. Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien.