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Tampa Bay area, Dunedin, and also in Naples
Flamenco Workshops and Classes with Irene Rimer "La Chata"

Artistic Director
Cante, Baile, Percusion
(Singing, Dancing, Percussion)

  Irene Rimer "La chata"
Music is mathematics, and Flamenco with its rich mix of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Romani background influenced by the Mozarabic rite, is the best example of it. As the number 12 is the number of completion of a spiral in the measure of time, so is our basic Compas in Flamenco based on a 12-beat count, and divided in halves, fourths, and thirds to perform different rhythms.

Ms. Rimer advocates the acquisition of rhythmic precision in order to achive alignment with the universal law of rhythm from which all can benefit in all areas of life.

The group's goal is the entertainment and education of audiences in the art and culture of Flamenco, the art of the gypsies, by performing in the US, offering an annual professional performance with guest musicians from surrounding areas and from Spain at a variety of venues, offering lectures on the origins and
roots of Flamenco focusing on schools and universities, teaching dance workshops that include the different rythms of Flamenco, and teaching regular classes for all levels.

Irene Rimer performing at the Florida Heritage Awards for the Governor of Florida and in honor of Gloria Estefan.
with guitarist Tony Arnold, Bill Giles, and student singer Carolina Gonzalez



Tony Arnold

Tony began studying classical and flamenco guitar in 1960 after seeing his first concert by the great Sabicas. He studied for 8 years with Carlos Ramos, who was, like Sabicas, a student of Ramon Montoya, who first brought the flamenco guitar to the concert stage as a solo instrument. During that time he also worked at the Smithsonian Institution musical instrument restoration laboratory and appeared regularly at the King's Contrivance near Washington D.C. He also played several concerts with Grigor Grigorian in the Washington area. After serving as a naval officer (1970-1973) he continued to study flamenco guitar with Rafael Morales in Granada, then divided his attention between flamenco and his education, earning several degrees in geology, and finishing with a PhD from Harvard in evolutionary paleontology under Stephen Jay Gould. He went on to teach geology at Brown University and then at Florida State University where he is now a tenured professor. During this time he continued to pursue his study of flamenco guitar. He and his wife also own and operate an oriental rug store. 

Roberto Verdi
Roberto first heard Flamenco at the age of 14, while living with family outside Atlanta when his troubadour brother and friend visited from out of town. He found Flamenco music captivating, strange, but somehow familiar. It wasn't until four years later however, while attending a Jose Greco Concert, in Chattanooga, Ten, that Roberto found his passion for the music.The day after the concert, with a cheap guitar, instruction book, and no teacher or experience, he began his practice regime, playing six hours a day. One year latter Roberto moved to the San Francisco Bay area in search of a teacher. There, he met Federico Mejia, an inspiring, well known Flamenco guitarist that had studied in Spain.
After years of study, Roberto began performing as a soloist in the area. In 2000, he moved to Birmingham, Alabama, where shortly after he met the Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company (BHDC) and began working with them, learning dance accompaniment, and performing in concerts.
In 2006 Roberto met Irene Rimer, dancer extraordinary and master choreographer who had just moved to Birmingham, and joined her newly formed group, Corazon Flamenco, that included most members of the residing company, BHDC. Roberto performed with Corazon Flamenco until 2015 when Irene moved to Florida. During that time, he met Manolo Vargas in 2007, master flamenco guitarist and teacher, who had worked with Irene Rimer for years and who played at some of her concerts in Birmingham. Roberto studied under Manolo Vargas in Birmingham as well as in California. Roberto now lives in Clearwater, Florida, where he performs and teaches flamenco guitar.

Corazon Flamenco: Keeping the flamenco flame alive, one dance at a time

(dance review)

By Michael Huebner
on October 20, 2013 at 1:30 PM, updated October 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama -- Flamenco, its influences, spectacle and origins, were center stage Saturday at  Virginia Samford Theatre, as Corazon Flamenco traced “The Art of the Gypsies.”

Company director Irene Rimer gathered family, friends and artists from Birmingham and far beyond to tell the story of the art form that has consumed so much of her life. As the program's title, “Universal Flamenco,” suggested, the dance and music that originated in 18th century Andalusia has evolved to become the world's property. The titled also mirrored Rimer's
recently published method book on the subject, which was dedicated to her father, who was in attendance.
CORAZON FLAMENCO: "Universal Flamenco: The Art of the Gypsies"

With Tango Elegante, Devyani Dance Company, Aziza of Birmingham, guest artists

Saturday, Virginia Samford Theatre



To illustrate in dance, the program started out with Tango Elegante, a group of five couples dipping, sliding, backbending and turning to the syncopations of Argentine tango music. Connecting to Flamenco's Middle Eastern origins, belly dancers from Devyani Dance Company bared midriffs and swayed sensually while clanging hand percussion in rhythm. Eight members of Aziza of Birmingham, twirling bright shawls, captured the joy of belly dance in formation. Each brought similarity and contrast to modern flamenco.


The main show unfolded as a two-part catalog of flamenco music and dance – Sevillanas, Farruca, Alegrias, Siguiriyas and the like. Most of the virtuosity came in the second part. Exquisite guitar solos from Roberto Verdi and Tony Arnold were interspersed among Spanish songs, sung by Antonio Cabello, Lucia, of Valdemar and Lucia, and Rimer herself.

Among the standouts were Cathy de Sol's “Solea,” a pounding tour de force done in a bright red gown, the dancer's stern looks and lightning-speed heel-to-toe rhythms reaching to the essence of flamenco dance. Rimer's “Tientos” matched de Sol's virtuosity stomp for stomp, movement for movement, making clear the loyalty she has garnered in her seven years as Corazon Flamenco's leader.

But flamenco isn't all stomping and attitude. Juan Torres displayed grand lyricism and elegance in a classic “Alegrias.” Victoria Langdon's demure demeanor turned to fancy footwork in the Cuban “Guajiras,” an example of flamenco diaspora.

The quick-paced “Bulerias,” danced by the entire ensemble, brought the concerto to a rousing, uplifting close.

Flamenco's rich history, technique, diaspora and beauty were vividly displayed at this event. Rimer's efforts have added vibrancy to Birmingham's growing cultural diversity, and she should be applauded for that.

Birmingham troupe Corazon Flamenco stomps and twirls in steamy 'El Amor Brujo'

Published: Sunday, September 27, 2009, 11:54 AM     Updated: Sunday, September 27, 2009, 12:51 PM

Based roughly on the ballet of the same title by Manuel de Falla, it contains snatches of recorded orchestral music and narrative dialogue to push the action along. Rimer's brilliant choreography served the drama well, but spoken exchanges were weak. Scenes such as Jose's murder and a meeting with a witch were stilted and needed more coaching. They were rescued only by the dance numbers that followed. Scene changes, some with awkward silence and darkness, needed tightening.

Guitarist and singer Marija Temo impressed on several occasions as she heightened the action and filled interludes. A classical guitarist and orchestral soloist as well as a flamenco expert, Temo possesses immaculate technique and an expressive, penetrating voice. Her accompaniments of Rimer's dance solos were the most memorable parts of the show. Guitarist Tony Arnold, also a paleontology professor at Florida State University, contributed some beautiful solos and duets.

Like classical ballet, flamenco is mostly about dance. Rimer's choreographic vision thrives on the frenetic stomping and complex heel-to-toe rhythms that drive this centuries-old art form. Ensemble numbers carried out by her well-trained troupe generated a whirlwind of flowing colorful costumes and coordinated movements. Solo numbers, especially those by Rimer and Julia Quijano, combined passion with spectacle. Fine performances were also turned by Carlos Lencina, as Jose, and Cole Companion, as Carmelo.

Together with last year's production of “Blood Wedding” and “El Amor Brujo,” Corazon Flamenco has staged two ballets that filmmaker Carlos Saura tackled in his trilogy of flamenco-inspired dance films. Only “Carmen” remains. If the company is so inclined, it would be a welcome completion of the cycle.

Corazon Flamenco does well by its namesake in 'Blood Wedding'

Published: Saturday, August 16, 2008, 10:02 PM     Updated: Saturday, August 16, 2008, 10:11 PM
Colorful, swirling dresses, pounding heels, vibrant guitar strumming and passionate singing announced Saturday that flamenco in Birmingham is here to stay.

Corazon Flamenco, the fledgling ensemble formed here last year by Irene Rimer, staged an ambitious production of Federico Garcia Lorca's passionate play, "Blood Wedding," set to mostly new choreography, spoken dialogue to move the plot along and live music led by Manolo Vargas' masterful vocals and guitar playing.

At times, the daunting challenge of weaving music, dance and theater into a coherent production of a 20th century masterpiece proved more than this mostly non-professional ensemble could handle, but they should be applauded for this taking on this brave venture.

The dancers represented their namesake's genre splendidly, at the same conveying some of Spain's most colorful classical and folk dances. Dense with dance numbers from solos to octets, the show reflected Rimer's disciplined coaching and her own extensive background. Six young children got into the act, nicely stepping and kicking in flamenco style in the wedding scene.

Understandably, the group still has some weaknesses. In large ensemble pieces, the synchronization of steps demanded by the kinetic flamenco rhythms often became a percussive jumble, and some of the drama fell victim to weak vocal projection. But the thrust of Garcia Lorca's plot about a bride who falls for a former lover on her wedding day, was clear and concise. As the bride, Rimer danced and acted brilliantly. She was swept away passionately by Leonardo, played convincingly by Carlos Lencina. Fine performances were turned in Julia Quijano and Victoria Langdon, whose dance skills melded nicely with their vivid face and body language.

Much of the play's message seemed lost on some of the audience at WorkPlay, whose untimely laughter often interrupted some dramatic moments and loud talking nearly drowned out Vargas' finest guitar solo. Corazon Flamenco is shaping up to be fine company, deserving of a more appropriate -- and less smoke-filled -- venue.

FLAMENCO is a genre of Spanish music, song and dance from Andalusia, in Southern Spain, that includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance), and palmas (handclaps).

First mentioned in literature in 1774, the genre grew out of andalusian and romani music and dance styles with influences that can be traced to Pythagorean math.

In recent years, flamenco has become very popular all over the world and its taught in many countries; in japan, there are more academies than there are in Spain. On Nov. 16th, 2010, UNESCO declared Flamenco one of the Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

For Flamenco lectures and demonstration of the many rhytms please contact us.

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