In December, a blaze destroyed the world-renowned National Institute of Flamenco, taking with it the Albuquerque, N.M., group's studios, irreplaceable costumes, archives and business files.
But six months later, the institute is rising out of the ashes and is hosting its annual international flamenco festival. The Festival Flamenco Internacional de Albuquerque, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday, features dancers from around the world thanks to donations and area schools letting organizers use their space to prepare.
Dancers from the Albuquerque-based Yjastros company said the fire may have destroyed its studios, yet it didn't finish off its desire to keep dancing and host the event that attracts some of the world's best flamenco dancers, even from Spain.
"Nothing can stop us," said Kayla Lyall, a dancer with Yjastros. "And the festival feeds us … For people who come here they know it's not over."
Less than 24 hours after the fire, support from area businesses came, and schools offered help to keep the institute alive and the dance company going. The institute also quickly launched its own fundraising efforts, said Marisol Encinias, the festival director.
"We knew this festival would still happen," Encinias said.
Originating from the Andalusia region in southern Spain, flamenco is a form of Spanish dance and folk music that developed from Romani music and dance more than two centuries ago.
The flamenco festival features performances, workshops and even classes for children.
Yjastros dancer Alisa Alba said, "Flamenco is something that always stays with you."