Flamenco dancer Genevieve Guinn is a world-renowed performer and teacher of flamenco, as well as the founder and artistic director of the Austin Flamenco Academy. On July 6-8, Genevieve will be hosting the  Austin Flamenco Festival where there will be music, theatre, dance, and even free community classes! We recently had a chance to sit down with Genevieve to talk about the festival, as well as her history with the flamenco art form.

What would you like people to know about the Austin Flamenco Festival?

This is the inaugural year of the Austin Flamenco Festival, and it’s something this city has never had before. There will be dance workshops, theater performances, a free community rhythm and dance class, and a big closing party. My plan is to expand every year and continue bringing the top names in flamenco dance and music to Austin. This first year focuses on building a base and introducing Austin to some of the incredible flamenco performers from around the world. We’ll also be presenting Fosteros, a Flamenco Suite created by myself and the festival’s Musical Director Gonzalo Grau.

Could you tell us a little bit about the artists that are coming in for the festival, as well as some of the educational opportunities for the community?

Along with local talent, the festival will feature an international cast of artists from Spain, Cuba, Venezuela, and France. Edwin Aparicio will be teaching both beginning and professional workshops at Austin Flamenco Academy and I will also host a free rhythm and rumba workshop on July 8th on the H-E-B Terrace at the Long Center. These workshops are unique to the festival, but flamenco classes for children and adults are offered year-round at Austin Flamenco Academy.

Could you talk about how you got involved with flamenco and what makes you so passionate about it?

I’ve always loved flamenco. As a kid, I started dancing flamenco at a studio on South Congress, where the future Soho House would be. My mom took me to my first class and I was instantly hooked. I remember asking my parents if I could go to Spain to study flamenco instead of going to high school. That didn’t fly. So I saved up until I graduated and immediately jumped on the plane to Madrid. After years of performing in Spain, I moved back to the U.S. and taught on the east coast. I moved back to Austin in 2011 and founded what is now Austin Flamenco Academy. All my classes are bilingual and I start my little ones at three-years-old. We work on technique, posture, music, singing, and memory. We even get special guest musicians to come play and sing for us!