Antonio El Pipa
Antonio Ruiz Fernandezwas born into one of the large flamenco dynasties of Jerez de la Frontera in 1970; he is the grandson of Tia Juana la del Pipa, and son of Antonio el Pipa, both renowned flamenco dancers from the Santiago district of Jerez.
Antonio el Pipa took his artistic name from his father, and like many of the young up and coming artistes from this area, he started to make a name for himself after working with Manuel Morao and his Gitanos de Jerez.
He served his apprenticeship working with some of the top dancers of the time like Lola Flores, Matilda Coral, and Cristina Hoyos, with whom he participated on her production of Federico García Lorca`s Yerma.
He has been awarded many prizes for flamenco dance including first prize in the traditional “bulerias” and “alegrias” sections of the XIV Concusro Nacíonal de arte Flamenco de Cordoba in 1995 and Teatro Pavon Cup for his first solo production, Vivencias, in 1997.
With his name well established as one of the most interesting and inspiring dancers of the Jerez school of flamenco, Antonio el Pipa started to tour all over Spain and the rest of the world with his own flamenco dance troupe.
In 2002 he produced a show by the name of “ De Cai el baile”, (The dances of Cadiz) which had no story line, but in which he demonstrated the different dance styles from Cadiz.
His other shows include Tablao, which was a tribute to the flamenco tablaos and their important part in the evolution of flamenco, and Pasíon y Ley, a production in which this young dance master demonstrates his skill and respect of the styles of flamenco native to his birthplace. In this production Antonio el Pipa portrays a sculptor who falls in love with one of his artistic works. He is accompanied by the ancient gypsy elegance of his aunt, Juana la del Pipa, and the deep orthodox tones of Enrique el Extremeño.
One of his most interesting projects was a tour in which he took part with gypsy musicians from different parts of the world. In 2001 Antonio el Pipa´s Flamenco troupe toured North America with a show that included gypsy musicians from India, Spain, Romania, and Macedonia. Parts of this tour were filmed and a fly on the wall type documentary was made by Jasmine Dellia. The road that bends; tales of a gypsy caravan, follows five very different bands of gypsies on and off stage and includes a behind the scenes look at their different musical cultures and their opinions concerning the art of gypsy music. The tour got rave reviews in America, and the New York Times said that Gypsy Caravan was full of “Raga likemelodies, furious flamenco, and much brassy oompah oompah amid bottles of booze and clouds of cigarette smoke” Que gitano!