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Press Release: Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company returns to Sadler's Wells with Solera this April

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Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company
Wednesday 17 – Saturday 20 April 2024
Tickets: From £15
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com  

Flamenco guitarist, composer and producer Paco Peña and his company return to Sadler’s Wells Theatre with Solera from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 April, following its acclaimed run in 2022.


Paco Peña, supported by his friend, theatre director, Jude Kelly CBE for the piece’s dramaturgy, explores artistic wisdom and the fearlessness of youth in search for new expression.


The solera system, from Andalucía in Southern Spain, is a process for aging wine by fractional blending in such a way that the finished product is a mixture of ages, with the average age gradually increasing as the process continues over many years. The purpose for this is the maintenance of a reliable style and quality of the beverage over time. 


The word “solera” means “on the ground” in Spanish and refers to the lower level of the set of barrels used in the process; the liquid is traditionally transferred from barrel to barrel, top to bottom. 

Echoing this method, Peña’s spectacle presents a history of flamenco tradition – handed down from one generation to the next whilst finding its own new means of expression.


Solera features young and mature artists – dancers, musicians and singers. 81-year-old guitar virtuoso Peña performs side by side Dani de Morón, a wonderful and innovative young exponent of the flamenco guitar, as well as with dancers Angel Muñoz, a long-time participator, Adriana Bilbao and Brazilian dancer Gabriel Matías, who specialised in flamenco in Madrid. True to the art form’s spirit of community, the dancers’ feet connect with the ground to combine with the sounds of percussion, guitar and song as the ensemble come together to present both traditional and original live music. 


Paco Peña and Jude Kelly CBE started working together twenty years ago, when they created Voces y Ecos. Other projects include A Compás! and Flamenco sin Fronteras, a study of flamenco forms at the turn of the twentieth century, when Spanish performers arriving in South America discovered a folklore reminiscent of their own musical traditions. With Solera, the duo collaborates again to tell the story of love and respect of the flamenco way of life.


Paco Peña said: “The shows I present on stage always tend to follow a familiar journey: finding a meaningful idea, finding a title, in a word or two, that might contain the essence of that idea; then giving shape to it, in rehearsals with all my colleagues. And finally, with much trepidation, stepping on the stage to share it with the audience.


I have to say that in all the years I have been taking that journey I have never experienced anything like the outburst of emotion from all the artists as we came off the stage on the opening night of ‘Solera’, in 2022 at Sadler’s Wells Theatre … there was not a dry cheek among us – and that was at the interval.”



Listing information:

Wednesday 17 April – Saturday 20 April
Standard - No Under 5's.

Live music. 

Running time: 2 hours 10 minutes. One interval (20 minutes)

Tickets: From £15
Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000 or www.sadlerswells.com

About Paco Pena
Born in the Andalucian city of Córdoba, Paco Peña began learning guitar from his brother at the age of six and made his first professional appearance at the age of 12. In the late 1960s he left Spain for London, where his recitals of flamenco music captured the public’s imagination. Paco Peña embodies both authenticity and innovation in flamenco - as guitarist, composer, dramatist, producer and artistic mentor he has transformed perceptions of this archetypal Spanish art form.


In 1981 he founded the Centro Flamenco Paco Peña in Cordoba, later becoming artistic director of the Córdoba International Guitar Festival. Peña is the world’s first Professor of Flamenco Guitar, a role established in 1985 at Rotterdam Conservatory in the Netherlands. He was later awarded the Gold Medal in the Arts by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington - both bestowed by King Juan Carlos of Spain.


The Paco Peña Flamenco Dance Company has taken flamenco into the realm of music-theatre, with regular seasons in London (Royal Festival Hall, Sadler’s Wells Theatre and Barbican) and festival appearances in Edinburgh, Adelaide, Amsterdam, Athens, Israel, Istanbul, Singapore and Hong Kong. 


In 2002 Paco Peña enjoyed the collaboration of renowned theatre director Jude Kelly in what proved to be the spectacular show Voces y Ecos, which took the audience on a journey through the history of flamenco and the most significant moments in its development – the show was hailed as the best flamenco show in years.


Other ambitious projects followed with Jude Kelly’s collaboration - A Compás! - aimed at transmitting vividly to audiences the compelling nature of a range of flamenco rhythms; Flamenco sin Fronteras looked at a group of flamenco forms that emerged at the turn of the 20th century when Spanish performers arrived in South America to tour their shows and discovered a rich folklore reminiscent of their own musical traditions; today, solera is the latest production by the duo and will be performed for the first time on Sadler's Wells stage.
About Jude Kelly CBE
Jude Kelly has directed over 200 theatre and opera productions, is the recipient of two Olivier Awards, a BASCA Gold Badge Award for contribution to music, a Southbank Award for opera, an RPO award for her festival The Rest is Noise, Women’s Hour’s one of the 100 most powerful women in the UK in 2013, Red Magazine’s 2014 Creative Woman of the Year, CBIs 2016 First Woman Award for Tourism and Leisure and in 2017 the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Woman of the Year Social Purpose Award. She was also headhunted to join the bidding team for the 2012 London Olympics and create the programme for culture and ceremonies, she subsequently advised both Rio and Tokyo on their successful bids.

Jude Kelly CBE is also CEO and Founder of The WOW Foundation. She founded WOW to celebrate the achievements of women and girls and confront global gender injustice. Starting as a three-day festival at London’s Southbank Centre in 2010, where Jude was Artistic Director for 12 years, the festival now takes place in 30 locations across six continents. In 2018 Jude established The WOW Foundation, an independent charity dedicated to building the WOW movement as a force for change.


Jude has founded a range of arts institutions and has commissioned and supported the work of thousands of female artists across all genres.


In 1997, she was awarded an OBE for her services to theatre and in 2015 she was made a CBE for services to the Arts.

About Sadler’s Wells      
Sadler's Wells is a world-leading dance organisation. We strive to make and share dance that inspires us all. Our acclaimed year-round programme spans dance of every kind, from contemporary to flamenco, Bollywood to ballet, salsa to street dance and tango to tap.    


We commission, produce and present more dance than any other organisation in the world. Since 2005, we have helped to bring more than 200 new dance works to the stage, embracing both the popular and the unknown. Our acclaimed productions tour the world. Since 2005 we’ve produced 64 new full-length works and performed to audiences of more than two million, touring to 51 countries.    


Each year, over half a million people visit our three London theatres - Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre. Millions more attend our touring productions nationally and internationally or explore our digital platforms, including Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage.   


Sadler’s Wells East   

In 2024 we’re opening a fourth London venue in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.


 Sadler’s Wells East will house a 550-seat mid-scale theatre, as well as facilities for the new Rose Choreographic School and the hip hop theatre training centre, Academy Breakin’ Convention.   

 Sadler’s Wells East joins the rich cultural heritage of Stratford, opening in London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as part of the East Bank development alongside the BBC, UAL’s London College of Fashion, UCL and the V&A. Sadler’s Wells East will support artist development and training, and the creation of new work. It will build the infrastructure for dance and make it accessible to more people. Sadler’s Wells East will house a flexible theatre presenting a wide variety of dance performances. Community will be at the heart of Sadler’s Wells East with a large open foyer that can be used by everyone as a meeting or performance space. There will also be dance studios and world-class dance facilities for dancemakers to train, create and rehearse productions.  


Supporting artists  

Supporting artists is at the heart of our work. We have associate artists and companies, which nurture some of the most exciting talent working in dance today. We host the National Youth Dance Company, which draws together some of the brightest young dancers from across the country. Sadler’s Wells Breakin' Convention runs professional development programmes to champion and develop the world’s best hip hop artists, as well as producing, programming and touring groundbreaking hip hop performances.    


Learning and community links  

Around 30,000 people take part in our learning and engagement programmes every year. We support schools local to our theatres in Islington and Stratford, designing experiences for children and young people to watch, explore and critically engage with the arts. We also run Company of Elders, a resident performance company of dancers aged over 60 who rehearse with renowned artists to make new work for public performances locally, nationally and internationally.    


Sadler’s Wells is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.    

Stay up to date with everything Sadler’s Wells on social media     
Facebook: @SadlersWells     
Twitter: @Sadlers_Wells     

Instagram: @sadlers_wells     
YouTube: Sadler’s Wells Theatre


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