Sevillanas are a type of folk music and dance of Seville and its region. They were derived from the Seguidilla, an old Castilian folk music and dance genre. In the nineteenth century they were influenced by Flamenco. They have a relatively limited musical pattern but are rich in lyrics based on country life, virgins, country towns, neighborhoods, pilgrimage, and love themes.
Sevillanas are danced by couples of all ages and sexes during celebrations (fiestas or ferias), often by whole families and towns. Sevillana choreography is very stable and knowing it is very useful, since it is a festival dance. This is why those intending to dance flamenco usually start by learning sevillanas; they are easier to master and there are more occasions for practice and training.
The rhythm of Sevillanas can be interpreted as 3/4, although it is generally 6/8. Each sevillana is composed of 4 or sometimes 7 parts, with each part divided into 3 coplas and with each copla made up of 6 movements.
Born in La Paz, Bolivia, Elba Hevia y Vaca is a creative artist and visionary who has brought the flamenco art form to Philadelphia for over a decade. She began her study of classical Spanish dance at the age of five. She later studied and danced professionally with the Ana Martinez Flamenco Dance Company in D.C., and danced with Washington’s Raquel Peña Spanish Dance Company, appearing as a soloist at various venues throughout the U.S. In Philadelphia she continued her study of modern dance, jazz, and contact improvisation from various Philadelphia artists. She continues her dance studies and research yearly in Sevilla, submerging herself with master dancers, musicians and singers of the art form. In 2017 she was invited to perform with PyA at the Festival de Jerez in Spain. In 2000, Hevia y Vaca founded Pasión y Arte (PyA) and has developed it into Philadelphia’s premier contemporary flamenco dance company. She founded it out of a strong and intensely personal conviction that highly-stylized traditional Spanish flamenco dance is a perfect vessel to empower women. These values have been reflected in her eight original, critically acclaimed evening length works she has created for PyA and in the numerous grants, fellowships and accolades awarded to Hevia y Vaca and PyA under her direction. These works push the boundaries of the flamenco art form through experimentation with site-specific choreography, and many are the product of collaborations with international flamenco stars and renowned post-modern dancers. She has also founded a conservatory, launched the first citywide flamenco festival and is a Senior Adjunct at Franklin and Marshall and Adjunct at Temple University and Drexel University.