We had the good fortune of connecting with Irene “La Sentío” and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Irene, what role has risk played in your life or career?
As an artist I think risk must be part of our lives on a daily basis. If you don’t leave your comfort zone you will never know where you can get to. Art in itself is risk. It is commitment to yourself. It is a challenge. Personally, I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I wouldn’t have risked everything by leaving Italy and moving to Seville with the only purpose to become a professional flamenco dancer. I was so determined because I needed to express myself and I found in flamenco the perfect channel to do it: flamenco is my therapy.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
Hopefully my story will inspire others because it demonstrates that you can get what you really want if you are passionate about something and if you work hard. Dreams come true!

I am one of the very few non-Spanish flamenco dancers who have reached the highest level in this profession and I’m the only Italian dancer who is working in Spain in the best ‘tablaos’ (the venues for daily flamenco shows), companies and theatres. The process has been long and difficult: I needed a lot of patience, respect, discipline and dedication. I had to go down to its roots, to its depths in order to understand it and be able to use it as my first language. The impulse which helped me to come over the difficulties was my passion and deep love for it: Flamenco is a philosophy of life, it goes with you every day and it is able to transform your personal life completely. In my case being a foreigner meant a real challenge in the process of becoming a professional dancer: during a lot of years the flamenco environment has been quite close to non-gypsy, non-andalusian or non-Spanish people who wanted to make a living on it. In the last few years other foreign dancers and I have broken this barrer and we have demonstrated that any person who feels the ‘calling’ of flamenco can dedicate a whole life to it and be respected by the best Spanish artists. Flamenco has been declared in 2010 “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO: I invite all the readers of ‘Shoutout LA’ to approach the flamenco music and culture because it’s a language that any openhearted person can speak. In my face to face or online classes I give the students a complete perspective of the flamenco culture, so that they can understand not only the steps but the reason why we do them and their relation to the singing and the music.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
People who visit LA can find Art and freedom in every corner of it. It’s an inspiring city full of life, colours and unique people. I love the sea, so I would recommend to go for a walk and enjoy in Santa Monica beach or in Malibu.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a lot to my family; to my parents who have always encouraged me during my whole carreer, from the very first moment. They believed in me and I can see now in their eyes they are proud of the person and the artsist I’ve become. I was lucky to come across wonderful teachers in Spain who have been able to transmit the purest flamenco tradition to me; it was a real gift to have the oportunity to tour with them all over the world and I feel very thankful for that. Last but not least, I have to thank all the amazing artists I’ve been working with during the past 10 years on a daily basis: my concept of flamenco has been influenced by each one of them and I feel very lucky for learning so much from these wonderful people.

Website: www.irenelasentio.com
Instagram: @irenelasentio
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaSentio
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/LaSentio

Image Credits
Andrea Sangiovanni (photos number 1-2-7) Eyah Hirsch (photo number 3) Antonio Andreou (photos 4-5-6) Beatrix Molnar Mexi (photo number 8) Alberto Romo (photo number 9)

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