Yaelisa and Caminos Flamencos

Emmy-winning, ever-expanding superstar's company explores new territory
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PREVIEW How many outside the flamenco family — a sizable one in the Bay Area — realize just how special an artist Yaelisa is? In a less ghettoized genre, this Emmy-winning and always expanding and deepening performer and choreographer would be considered a superstar. Yaelisa foregoes some of the showbiz antics of her colleagues for performances that are no less captivating and, frequently, more intelligently planned and presented. Her monthly Café Flamenco sessions — every third Sunday of the month and currently at Theater Artaud — have become a Bay Area staple.

The Yaelisa and Caminos Flamenco ensemble includes Melissa Cruz, Christina Hall, Mariana Elana, and Fanny Ara. Each of these women is a soloist in her own right. For the company's new program, Canciones, Yaelisa and her dancers are stepping beyond their comfort level into non-flamenco music — not exactly a new idea, but one that apparently Yaelisa has wanted to explore for a long time. The impetus came from a 2006 collaboration with tap virtuoso Savion Glover that involved Brazilian funk, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck. Canciones — with guest dancer Timo Nuñez — includes music by Iron and Wine and the Spanish pop group Ketama and live sounds by Sonikéte, as well as more traditional compositions by Isaac Albéniz. Latin percussionist Michael Spiro and vocalists Felix de Lola and Miguel Rosendo join music director and master flamenco artist Jason McGuire.

YAELISA AND CAMINOS FLAMENCOS Sat/1, 8 p.m., and Sun/2, 7 p.m., $15–$60. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission, SF. (415) 978-ARTS, www.ybca.org>.

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