Las Brujas de Salem, World Premiere 2007

The World Premiere of 'Las Brujas de Salem' a new Flamenco Ballet inspired by 'The Crucible' by Arthur Miller, featured Manolete, one of the greatest Flamenco dancers and choreographers of our time and mentor to company Founder/Artistic Director Ilisa Rosal. A year in the making, and interpreted by 35 musicians and dancers from North and South America and Spain, this full-evening work explores themes of political manipulation, blind panic, fanaticism and alienation that are as relevant and engaging today as when Arthur Miller first wrote this play. The belief in witchcraft from the Middle Ages through the end of the 19th Century in Europe set the stage for this 17th Century atrocity in America that perpetrated the same type of manipulations, executions and torture as the Spanish Inquisition. This compelling work sends a powerful message, while demonstrating the universality of our art form. It is at the same time exquisitely beautiful, powerful, passionate, provocative, suspenseful, sensual and spiritual.
Combining the company’s relationship with Manolete as its mentor with the powerful theatrical work that has been a part of our history, as well as the history of flamenco itself, is an important step towards solidifying two of the most vital elements of the company and its work. Bringing our artists from North and South America back to Spain, with a Flamenco work based on an American play, brings a full circle to our history of
International Exchange. The powerful themes of political manipulation, blind panic, fanaticism, paranoia, fear of the supernatural and alienation are as relevant today as ever and they are as relevant in Spain as in America.
This connection between Spanish history and American history makes an even stronger interchange between Spain and America in this work. American artists, trained in Spain and in a Spanish art form, part of a company based in Miami, returning to Spain to present a Flamenco interpretation of an American play in collaboration with some of the finest artists from Spain was a groundbreaking step for the company.

ABOUT THE SALEM WITCH TRIALS:
In the harsh winter of 1962, Indian wars, political unrest and old disputes between neighbors produced a tension that evoked the blind rage of the people of Salem, Massachusetts. The rural and fanatic old guard was set against the new, more liberal families. When commerce, a new world view, and the desire for individual rights threatened to overshadow the control the old guard Puritans had over the people and economy of Salem, an opportunity was seen in the first claims of a few young girls. At first, these girls claimed to be afflicted by witches in order to hide their clandestine experiments with the occult, and unacceptable singing and dancing in the repressed society of the Puritans. The old guard, acting in collusion and consumed by greed, envy and pride, had no respect for the dignity and value of human life, as they cued the girls to accuse certain people and families.
What began as the unwitting sport of the slave Tituba, and some children, turned into the witch hysteria that was to become known as one of the most infamous chapters in American History.
Public opinion only changed when the hysteria reached the highest levels of society. In May 1693, 18 months after the witch-hunt began in January 1692, Governor William Phipps pardoned all of the accused. By then, nineteen had been hanged, one pressed to death, and three women, one man, and several infants had died in prison. An untold number died later of illness and injury contracted in prison, where the conditions were horrific. In all, a total of two hundred were arrested and two hundred more accused.

Four years later, the judges signed a confession of error, and asked to be forgiven. Fourteen years later, Ann Putnam, Jr., one of the most passionate of the accusers, admitted that they had been misled. The Salem witch-hunt of 1692 represents one of the grimmest events in early American history. It is the story of innocent people caught in a web of intrigue from which they could not extricate themselves.

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