Yaelisa brings flamenco-style Nutcracker to SF

Emmy Award winner and Caminos Flamencos founding artistic director Yaelisa put together “Canciones 2,” which she calls her version of “The Nutcracker.” It premieres Friday at the Cowell Theatre in San Francisco.

What reaction do you hope people have to this performance? I expect them to laugh, cry, feel moved and enjoy their experience, because we’re not just proving or giving them one message, we have traditional flamenco, but there’s a lot of more dance pieces and innovation — though I don’t usually like using that word.

Why flamenco? We’ve done odd and strange things over the years sometimes, and other times we’ve done really straight-ahead. I feel that flamenco can be a vehicle for different ways of expressing yourself; that’s what we’re doing this year. I decided to use almost all local artists, which gave me the freedom to mount some interesting choreographies to very interesting music.

If you could have one person come to your show, who would it be? Rita Moreno. I met her this year at the ethnic dance festival and she was very nice when she met me. She said, “Oh, maybe I should come to your classes.” It would be absolutely amazing.

What are some of your influences? I am a second-generation flamenco artist in the Bay Area, so I grew up between here and being in Spain. The parties and the get-togethers and the cultural aspects have been a very important part of my life.

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