FLORIDA -  Tampa Bay area
Largo, Seminole, Clearwater, Belleair, Saint Petersburg and Tampa
Also soon in the Naples/Bonita Springs area
Flamenco Workshops and Classes with Irene Rimer "La Chata"

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

  Irene Rimer "La chata" founded Corazon Flamenco in May of 2006. 

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, 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's first exposure to Flamenco was at the age of 14 when he heard his visiting troubadour brother playing the guitar. Four years later, while attending a Jose Greco concert, he developed a true passion for the music. The next day, with no musical experience, he began his studies with a cheap guitar and a simple instruction booklet, playing several hours a day. A year later he moved to California and studied with Fiederico Mejia. He worked with the Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company and joined Irene Rimer's Corazon Flamenco in May of 2006. More recently, Roberto has drawn most of his musical inspiration from Manolo Vargas,who he has studied with on numerous visits to California.

Dr. Robert Adler is one of the founding members of the Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company. He began his Spanish dance training in 1984 with Hispanic Dance Olé (HDO). Since then, he has worked with a number of professional artists in the U.S. and Spain: along with Mr. Parra and Ms. SidAhmed, Robert has worked with Patri Nader of San José, CA; Dame Libby Komaiko of Chicago; in Spain, with José de Udaeta of Barcelona, María Mercedes León, Pacita Tomás, and Joaquin Villa of Madrid.  In addition to regular BHDC concerts and shows, Robert performs at cultural festivals all over the State of Alabama, and does flamenco lecture/dems for schools, colleges and universities throughout the state.  As a university professor of Spanish, Robert teaches the language, literature, culture, and history of Spain and Latin America.  While visiting Latin America and Spain for teaching and research, he gathers musical and artistic materials to keep BHDC’s work authentic and up-to-date. He has been training under Irene Rimer and a member of Corazon Flamenco since 2006.

Tanya Benitez

Victoria Langdon was the Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company Artistic Director. She began her dance training as a young girl. Growing up in Washington, DC, she studied under Mary Day at the Washington School of Ballet, and, among other works, Victoria appeared in The Nutcracker and The Flower Drum Song. When Victoria moved to Charlotte, NC, she trained and performed with the Gay Porter Dance Company.  After attending the Mercy School of Nursing and later becoming a Registered Respiratory Therapist, her career took her to Atlanta, where she discovered her love of ballroom dancing.  After winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in waltz, cha cha, and swing in a pro-am competition, Victoria taught ballroom for several years until she married and moved to Birmingham.  Victoria then became a student with the State of Alabama Ballet and with Southern Danceworks, where she trained in modern and jazz under Mary Foshee.  Laura Knox, founder of Hispanic Dance Olé, inspired Victoria’s love for Hispanic dance.  Victoria has attended numerous workshops, primarily with the renowned Mariano Parra, and later with Luis Montero, Ciro, Libby Komaiko Fleming, La Tati, Manolo Rivera, Antonio Canales, José de Udaeta, Andrea del Conte, Patri Nader, and the late Roberto Lorca.  She now trains under Irene Rimer and is a solo dancer member of Corazon Flamenco.

Ilene Brill was a member of the Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company. She studied under Laura Knox, Mariano Parra, Victoria Langdon, Martha Sidahmed, Laura Garrigues, and now Irene Rimer. She has attended numerous workshops taught by members of the Maria Benitez's company, Lyda Torrea, Luis Montero, Ciro, Paco del Puerto, and Theresa Cullen. Ilene is most grateful to the memory of Melanie Mihalik for her ballet training and for her past support of all her dance endeavors. She also thanks her local modern dance teachers Edie Barnes, Mary Foshee, and Teri Weksler. Ilene continues to study ballet with Tara Fasshauer and has studied Argentine Tango with Sara Alvarez and Roswell Pfister.

Katri Selander

Ana Diaz "La Canela" is an Engineer and works in the steel industry. She moved from Barquisimeto, Venezuela to Birmingham in 2006 after finishing her studies of Metallurgical Engineering at the Universidad Nacional Experimental Politecnica "Antonio Jose de Sucre" (UNEXPO-Barquisimeto)
She has been dancing Flamenco since the age of four and was under Antonio Lopez from Granada for ten years. She resumed flamenco training in 2009 with Irene Rimer and has since then been dancing as part of Corazon Flamenco.

Julia Navakas Stork performed forlk dances of her native Lithuania. She became "Miss Julie of Romper Room" at WKAB-TV in Montgomery, AL, where she saw her first professional Flamenco show. She travelled to Spain to experience dancers on their home turf. She teaches psychology and business to students at JSCC, volunteers as a docent at the Birmingham Museum of Art, and indulges in her love of Flamenco. Julie has studied with Laura Knox, Laura Garrigues, and Irene Rimer.

Kathleen Berecek is a professor of Physiology and Biophysics at UAB. Kathleen has had a lifetime passion for and commitment to dance (tap, ballet, folk, jazz, character, modern and flamenco) She studied flamenco with Laura Knox, Jose de Udaeta, Mercedes y Albano, Pacita Tomas, Patri Nader, Mariano Parra, Martha Sidahmed, Laura Garrigues, and Irene Rimer; she was a former member of Birmingham Hispanic Dance Company.


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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