The talented Spanish dancer María Juncal has adapted the story of Anne Frank to a version of flamenco dancing, with a very warm acceptance by European critics. The dancer is now looking forward to bringing the show to Cuba, a country that has really touched her.

Almost ten years ago, the International Ballet Festival of Havana stole her heart.

Her performance at the time earned her a place in the Book of Honor of the Gran Teatro de la Habana (Grand Theater of Havana), which was recently ‘baptized’ with Alicia Alonso’s name.

The talented Spanish dancer María Juncal has adapted the story of Anne Frank to a version of flamenco dancing, with a very warm acceptance by European critics.The dancer is now looking forward to bringing the show to Cuba, a country that has really touched her.For some years now, the Spanish dancer has been collaborating with a children’s community project in the neighborhood of Los sitios, Havana, known as Compás Flamenco. Although this time she did not come to the island for pleasure but instead because of an injury, she couldn’t avoid immersing herself in the project nor could she avoid the idea of bringing the Ana Frank Show to Havana.

Her plan is to present the show at the upcoming International Ballet Festival of Havana in October 2016, she told The Havana Reporter.

This dancer knows by experience that flamenco as a style of dance and song genre has become increasingly popular in the world. Yet, she regrets that flamenco dancers are very often better received abroad than in Spain, and not because there are too many flamenco dancers in her country. In the Japanese city of Tokyo alone there are more flamenco academies than in the whole of Spain, and Japan is not the only country that stands out for its large number of such academies, Juncal noted.

“I am always surprised to see flamenco being largely performed in places where no one would ever imagine seeing it performed. I am not referring to theater-goers because it would be understandable for a show of that kind; I’m referring to communities, clubs, flamenco schools for people of all ages, and people who have learned to dance flamenco even at the age of 50 and have fallen in love with it and go to their dance lessons everyday,” she commented.

The celebrated dancer from Las Palmas de Gran Canaria still gets excited whenever she is acclaimed in countries such as Japan, Mexico, France, Italy, Greece, Holland, Belgium, the United States, Israel, China, Canada, Germany, Cuba and Venezuela.

“They welcome me gladly and appreciate my visit. I started this year in Finland in the middle of a hard winter, way below 20 degrees Celsius. To be able to go out, it was necessary to remove the snow using snowplows, and whenever I got to the school, there were many students of all ages working hard, sweating and divided into groups according to their level, doing their best for flamenco. That´s amazing,” said Juncal.

The professor also commented that she taught a summer course this year at Spain’s famous Flamenco School Amor de Dios, which welcomed more than 100 students from 13 different countries.

The number of flamenco performers in the world is ever-increasing. You can find incredible dancers in Finland, China and Japan, countries with cultures that sometimes tend to be seen as distant.So, why is flamenco so popular in such different places?

“Flamenco is both exciting and passionate. It’s temperamental but in all the possible nuances that could describe the word temperament; it’s not only a display of strength but of peace of mind as well. It’s the spirit of moderation, delight, happiness, of feelings at any level,” said the young artist, who is considered one of the world’s most famous flamenco dancers. El Encierro de Ana Frank will be performed on February 26 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Fine Arts Palace) in Mexico, a country where María was designated Worldwide Ambassador for Flamenco by the Tabasco government. The aforementioned performance will be the premiere in Latin America and probably the first leg of a tour of the continent.

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