The River Ara, from which her family name derives, is a symbol for flamenco dancer/choreographer Fanny Ara. “Like a river,” she says, “my life is a journey without limits.” From the Basque region bordering France and Spain, Ara dreamt as a child of being a dancer. To her, “the polka dots of my aunt’s flamenco skirt were the stars of my sky.” No surprise, then, that she was drawn to the Andalusian Gypsy dance form. ”It was my first love; what gave meaning to my life.”
For 15 years, in her hometown, Saint Jean de Luz, she immersed herself in Spanish classical dance studies before moving to Seville to live and work as a dancer. Serendipity led her to an apartment above a dance studio, where she met flamenco master Manolo Soler, who assured her she had what it takes to be a professional dancer. Eventually, she caught the eye of Mario Maya, and joined his Spanish dance company, one of the most prestigious in the world.
Love of a different sort brought her to the United States. In 2003, Ara had become engaged to an American photographer, who wanted to live in San Francisco. Not without “some degree of angst,” she agreed. She found her new dance home with Yaelisa’s Caminos Flamencos, which also became her base for exploring “many angles of the dance profession.” In addition to performing, Ara now teaches throughout the United States and Mexico. She one day hopes to mount her own company.
Awards and Accomplishments
- Nominee, Most Outstanding Music, Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Juncal Street (2012)
- Nominee, Most Outstanding Ensemble, Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Juncal Street (2012)
- Nominee, Most Outstanding Individual Performance, Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, Juncal Street (2012)
- Nominee, Most Outstanding Individual Dancer, Isadora Duncan Dance Awards (2006)