Ester Tal's flamenco journey with Mi Flamenco

Flamenco, a dance of fire and soul, has an enchanting power that captivates audiences worldwide.

Ester Tal, the producer and artistic director of Mi Flamenco Company, shares her incredible journey from the small village of West Moors in England to the heart of flamenco in Spain, and back to the UK where she now stages mesmerising flamenco performances.

Ester reveals the story behind her passion, her company's mission, and the essence of their latest show, Echoes.

Despite her deep connection to flamenco, Ester's origins might surprise you.

"Actually, I am not Spanish, but English; from the South originally growing up in West Moors, a little village near Ferndown," she begins.

Her journey into the world of flamenco began in the 90s when she moved to Spain to train at the renowned Amor de Dios flamenco school in Madrid.

"I had already experienced flamenco a little in London and was fascinated by it. After four years in Italy, my desire to dance flamenco grew and grew. I missed it and so I knew I just had to do this," she explains.

Ester's passion for flamenco led her to Madrid, where she met her husband, Uri Tal, a flamenco guitarist. Together, they moved to Jerez de la Frontera, known as "La cuna del cante" or "the cradle of flamenco singing." "I continued my training but also worked as a flamenco dancer in the local tablaos, which are flamenco-specific restaurants and bars," Ester says.

In 2006, Ester and Uri made a pivotal decision to move to the UK to establish their own flamenco company.

"We wanted to set up our own company and felt this would be a good place to start as I had contacts here and had also been teaching here on and off during my time in Spain," Ester says. The following year, Mi Flamenco Company was born. Initially named Mi Tierra Flamenca, they soon rebranded due to pronunciation challenges, settling on the simpler Mi Flamenco.

"Mi Flamenco's aims have always been to produce high-quality, authentic flamenco performances," Ester explains. Their innovative approach includes using theatre spaces to their best advantage, incorporating theatrical twists, and presenting flamenco in novel ways. This creativity shines in their new multimedia show, Echoes. "We like to really use the space, adding theatrical twists and presenting flamenco in innovative ways," she said.

Working closely with her husband brings both challenges and rewards. "We have very different artistic ideas but also very different roles within the company," Ester says. While she focuses on the look of the show, choreographic ideas, and drama, Uri handles the music composition for guitar and cello. "It can get challenging as the tours are intensive and the build-up to them is very busy with promotion, rehearsing, and organizing the technical side of things, but we also try to have fun with it all," Ester adds.

Ester's love for flamenco is deeply rooted in her family's tradition of dance. "I have always danced. My mother danced. My sisters danced. I am the only one who took it to a professional level, but dance has always been around in my family," she shares.

Her passion for people, cultures, and languages combined with her love for dance naturally led her to flamenco. "Flamenco is an excellent tool and outlet for expressing emotions. The training is arduous and demanding, but when you get that balance of strength, expression, and it all comes together on stage with an almost-perfect moment with the live music and raw vocals, it's a feeling like no other," Ester explains.

Echoes, Mi Flamenco's first multimedia show, is a testament to the company's innovative spirit. Combining moving and still images, flamenco dance, and live music with guitar, cello, and gypsy flamenco vocals, Echoes offers an immersive experience. "The idea was borne from the interpersonal and professional relationships within the company. Our love of flamenco; our love of Spain," she says.

Echoes invites the audience on an emotional journey through Spain's hidden parts, offering joy, nostalgia, and poignancy. "To experience hidden parts of Spain. Echoes is the complete flamenco package, so it is a great place to start if you haven't seen or heard flamenco before," Ester encourages. The show features virtuoso flamenco guitar, the melancholy notes of the cello, and powerful vocals from their gypsy singer, Luis Vargas Monge.

As Mi Flamenco prepares for their upcoming tour, Ester is excited about performing with the artists she loves and meeting new audiences. "Spending time on stage with the artists I love. Trying out new changes to the show and meeting new audiences.”

Mi Flamenco's tour schedule promises a series of unforgettable performances across various UK venues:

  • June 9th : The Haymarket, Basingstoke

  • June 12th : Queen's Theatre, Barnstaple, Devon

  • June 13th : Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

  • June 19th : The Brewhouse, Taunton, Somerset

  • June 21st : Theatre Severn, Shropshire

  • June 23rd : The Tivoli, Wimborne, Dorset

  • June 26th : Key Theatre, Peterborough

  • June 27th : The Courtyard, Hereford