Spanish culture to highlight scholarship fundraiser

The Honorary Consulate of Spain, along with Jacques Scott Wines & Spirits and LUCA Restaurant, will team up to help a young Caymanian student – or two – attend an intensive language program in Spain next summer. 

“La Noche Flamenca,” which will be held pool-side under the stars at Caribbean Club on Thursday Oct. 16, will feature Spanish food and wine as well as dancers from a well-known touring Spanish troupe, the Miguel Vargas Flamenco Dance Theatre, from Seville, Spain. 

Honorary Consul of Spain Garth Arch said this will be the third flamenco event hosted by the Consulate. 

“The first was in 2010 featuring guitarist Anton Jimenez and the second was in 2011 featuring Miguel Vargas,” he said. 

Nathan Barnett Herrera and his wife Elina Zavala of Parfait Weddings & Events have assisted the Consulate with securing and organizing the visit of the performers for this year’s event, which will once again include Vargas, in addition to three female flamenco dancers, a singer and a guitar player. 

“They are very well known,” said Zavala. “They actually tour internationally.” 

Currently, the Miguel Vargas troupe is on a seven-week, five-city U.S. tour that started in Miami on Sept. 1 and includes stops in Atlanta, Chicago, San Antonio and Boston. 

“What he’s bringing to Cayman is a condensed version of his own show,” said Zavala. 

Flamenco is a form of Spanish folk music and dance from southern Spain that dates back to the late 18th century. It includes singing, guitar playing and dancing. 

Miguel Vargas does contemporary interpretation of traditional flamenco rhythms and melodies, which its Facebook page says “is a trip from the cradle of flamenco to the present and from the deepest grief to the holiest joy.”  

While the guests enjoy the flamenco performance, they’ll dine on a three-course meal that highlights Spanish cuisine such as a gazpacho shot, Serrano ham-wrapped prawn, mixed paella and roasted pork. Jacques Scott will provide wines from Spanish producers Freixenet, Torres and Marqués de Riscal. 

Part of the proceeds from the event will go to funding the Consulate’s scholarship program, which enables a Caymanian student from the University College of the Cayman Islands to learn Spanish on the ground in Spain. 

“The Consulate Scholarship was started in 2011 and UCCI student Kayla Manderson was the first recipient,” said Arch. “Kayla attended the University of Granada’s intensive language summer program.” 

Manderson said students in the program aren’t allowed to use their native language and must at least attempt to ask questions in Spanish.  

“The course was intensive because we were all practically drowned in Spanish,” she said. “There really is no better way to learn Spanish, or any language for that matter, than to be fully immersed in the culture.  

“It is definitely a life-changing experience — and for the better.” 

Based on input from Manderson on her experience, Arch said the goal is to send more than one student next summer. 

“I know that Kayla had a great experience, however, one recommendation that she made to us is to send two students so that they can travel together,” he said. “Landing in a foreign country all alone can be challenging, so our goal is to send two students this time. We will consider the University of Granada again; however, other options will also be considered.” 

Flamenco_Cayman

Flamenco dancers, from the well-known touring Spanish troupe, the Miguel Vargas Flamenco Dance Theatre, are set to entertain guests at fundraiser ‘La Noche Flamenca’ Thursday Oct. 16.