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Meet Flamenco Dancer and Teacher, Pilar Andújar

by Matthew Hinsley

Pilar Andujar - Photo by Lois Greenfield

 …I’m sure that I have this passion in my genes from my mother…Her passion is the music, and you can see her eyes illuminated when she is listening to a song that she loves…

Pilar Andújar is a treasure.  We are so fortunate to have her in Austin – and I feel especially lucky to have been collaborating with her this year on our FlamencoAustin productions (tickets and information).

As a teenager I saw an unforgettable flamenco show in Granada, Spain.  I’ve never forgotten it – and when we started dreaming up FlamencoAustin my hope was that we’d recreate the energy and intensity and richness of that evening I experienced.

I asked Pilar to share a bit with me about her history and her passion for flamenco.  Enjoy! 

 

 

 

Matthew Hinsley: Tell me about yourself and your relationship to flamenco?

Pilar Andújar: I was born in a very small town called Almoradi in the province of Alicante with just 13,000 people.  I’m the fourth of four siblings, my father has a clothes shop called “Andújar” - we all worked together to help his business.

My family knew that dancing was my passion not only from my first recital at 7 years old, but because I was singing and dancing 24 hours a day in my house, in the school, and in the streets!

With my great and passionate teacher “Joseta”, in the dancing school in my little town, I discovered that I didn’t wantPilar Andujar - Photo by Tommy barrios to go to the university but instead I wanted to go to Madrid to learn more flamenco.  My parents supported me from the very beginning of my career, even when I decided to move to Madrid to be a professional flamenco dancer at the age of 17.

As soon as I completed a ballet degree and Superior Spanish Dance degree in Alicante, I traveled to Madrid.  I spent all my time studying flamenco - after of my 6-8 hours of training every day I was happy just listening some cante at Amor de Dios.

After just 3 months in Madrid, I was chosen to be a dancer in “The Luisillo Spanish Dance Company”.  My first performance was in Paris!!!  I was surprised that everything happened so easily because the level of Flamenco in Madrid was very high and I was at a beginner’s level.  After only one year living in Madrid, I was the understudy of Maria Pages in Riverdance, and after I continued my career in Flamenco.  That fate gave me these opportunities showed me I had to dedicate my life to Flamenco.

Although the focus of my life was Flamenco, I worked dancing all kind of styles, playing castanets and drums, singing, acting, and creating choreography for actors and dancers.  I’ve traveled a lot around the world, and I feel very lucky that I’ve always known what my passion was.

I’ve been dancing and choreographing in The US since 2001 when I worked with the Carlota Santana Flamenco Vivo a Flamenco company from New York. I did 7 tours with them around The US.  I came to Austin in May of 2010.

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