Sara Baras in performance
Sara Pereyra Baras was born in Cadiz in 1971 and from an early age received dance instruction from her mother. She had her first dance lessons at La Tertulia Flamenca de la Isla, in San Fernando, an academy that was run by her mother Concha Vargas and after this she joined Los Niños de la Tertulia Flamenco, where she served her apprenticeship as a flamenco dancer.
Sara Baras grew up in the same streets as her “artistic godfather”, Camaron de la Isla, the singer she admired most and a man she would later pay tribute to, appearing in many performances in his honor.
Her artistic break came when she joined Manuel Morao`s Gitanos de Jerez, a company set up by the jerezano guitarist whose aim was to showcase new flamenco talent from the province of Cadiz.
In 1991 she went on tour with this company where she spent two months working at the Edward VII Theater in Paris and after this, in 1992, she undertook a six-month tour of Japan with the Seville born dancer Javier Barón.
However, this period of her life was largely taken up by her work with Morao`s Gitanos de Jerez and her next stop was the Expo 92 in Seville.
She performed at this World Exhibition accompanied by Manuel Morao in a show that was also showcased at the Town Hall Theater in New York.
From here her career seemed to snowball and her participation in the tribute concert to the dancer Antonio el Bailarin during the 1994 Bienal de Flamenco in Seville secured her popularity as one of the most promising new artistes on the flamenco circuit.
Her newfound reputation was assured in the same year when she was awarded the Madroño Flamenco in Montellano (Seville) for being the “Most outstanding artiste of the year”. She became a regular performer at the summer flamenco festivals that are held throughout Andalucía and she also participated in the Bienal de la Danza de Lyon.
Sara Baras started to appear as guest artiste for many of the established flamenco troupes including a season with the Ballet Flamenco de Antonio Canales in his production of Gitano.
She was also noticed by Merche Esmeralda, who realized her potential and hired her as guest dancer in her show Mujeres, and Sara Baras, who herself was already being called the “New Queen of Dance” by writers and critics, also performed in front of the Queen of Spain.
In 1997 Sara presented her own dance troupe, Ballet Flamenca de Sara Baras, which made its debut at the Festival de la Union in Murcía.
Her first solo production was a show called Sensacíones, which premiered in Madrid during April 1998. This show was based on the roots of flamenco and looked at the different branches of the flamenco styles.
Later in September of the same year she returned to the biennale in Seville to participate in a show called Cadiz, La Isla, accompanied by Chano Lobato and Rancapino, two of the most respected flamenco singers of the last century.
By this point most of Sara`s energy was focused on her dance company and her second offering was Sueño, which she took to all corners of Spain and onto Europe where she gathered hoards of new followers. Other shows have included Juana la Loca and Mariana Piñeda, which was loosely based on the play by Federico García Lorca, and which is now available on DVD.
The most recent production from Sara Baras is Sabores, a showthatis dedicated to her mother, which she has taken all over the world, and her mother joined her on stage during one performance in Los Angeles in 2006.
She is no stranger when it comes to television, she took part in the T.V.E. documentary Algo mas que flamenco, and she was also filmed performing on the patio of the Casa de Pilatos (Seville) in a scene that was used in the Hollywood movie Mission Impossible 2.
She has also been used as a model during the London Fashion Week, and she has also graced the catwalks of Madrid and Lisbon.
In 2001 she officially opened the Carnival in Cadiz, an honor reserved for the province’s most respected citizens, and in 2002 she was named the “Face of Andalucía”.
Sara Baras is one of the new revolutionary dancers, a young talent of just thirty-seven years who has already reserved her place in the history of flamenco dance. She has the ability to transmit the same emotion and feeling on a large stage as one would find at an intimate flamenco get-together. She has a spontaneous approach to the dance, which is full of stomping footwork, and her style is streamline, replacing the frills and flowing gowns with a more classic look.
Sara Baras is an impressive, innovative young dancer and one of the main protagonists in the Cadiz school of the Baile flamenco.
Tony Bryant is author of Flamenco An Englishman’s Passion and Flamenco a Tale of Three Cities