By Victoria L. Dammer

Percussive flamenco guitar sounds and the wailing of Andalusian Gypsy music filled the air at Chelsea Table and Stage. Guests were privy to energetic footwork, sensual and explosive body movements, and outstanding vocal performances arranged and presented by the founders of Flamenco Vivo.

The 120-seat dinner theater was sold out, and the evening’s attendees were treated to a once-in-a-lifetime presentation showcasing the captivating talents of bailaora (flamenco dancer) Sonia Olla , the mesmeric voice of cante singer Ismael Fernandez and the spellbinding dancing of Antonio Molina “El Chorro.” Accompanying these prominent artists were guitarist Guillermo Guillen and singer Antonio Campos.

The origin of art form may originate sometime between the 9th and 14th century in the Andalusian region of Southern Spain, and flamenco roots come from the Roma (Gypsies), who introduced vocals, clapping, guitar, and footwork into their regional music. This dance style has spread around the globe. New Yorker Edward O. was asked why he came to see the show. He said “I like dance in general, and slamming your feet on the floor makes a statement.”

The show opened with Fernandez, Campos, and Guillen, warming the crowd with flamenco music and setting the stage for what was soon to follow. You could hear loud cries of “Ole” and enthusiastic clapping throughout the theater.

Sonia Olla arrived on stage in a form-fitting tomato-red dress she swirled in flamenco fashion, flashing the sight of a pair of legs that were undoubtedly the envy of everyone. Years of hard work made her dance moves look easy as she coupled with El Chorro in the first dance set. Her spectacular first dance brought an overwhelming response from the audience.

Guillen performed a profound and expressive solo on the guitar. It was wondrous to experience.

Olla once again enchanted the audience, dressed in another form-fitting, black lace flamenco dress. Her toned body is to be admired, but her footwork and heel work and the wavelike motion of her body to the music showed her dedication to the art of flamenco dance. Olla was born and raised in Barcelona and earned a degree in Spanish Dance. She is a dancer, director, and choreographer of international fame.

Olla lives in New York, and she and her partner Fernandez have appeared on many television shows, collaborated on successful programs, and currently operate a dance studio teaching the art of flamenco. Fernandez was born in Seville of Gypsy descent and performed with his internationally renowned family, “La Familia Fernández.” His voice was profoundly stirring, alluring.

Award-winning El Chorro followed with a solo dance, dressed in gray pants and jacket, with a black and white tight-fitting shirt. He wooed the audience with his style and his command of his art. He was born in Huelva, learned the trade from his father, and further trained with Manolo Marin and Javier Cruz. No one in the audience could keep their eyes off him during his time on stage.

Olla and Fernandez are a strong flamenco tight-knit couple and offer regular dance lessons in NYC and special workshops throughout the US, from beginner to advanced. Resident Catherine P., who used to practice ballet until she took up flamenco, said, “We are fortunate to have these types of dance here in New York.”

Everyone who experienced the evening would agree Flamenco Vivo stirs the gypsy in your soul and makes you want to get up and dance with abandon to the haunting sounds of the music and the rhythm of the flamenco guitar.

Flamenco Vivo at Chelsea Table and Stage, 152 West 26th Street, New York, New York 10001. For dining and show reservations, please visit Chelsea Table + Stage | Fashion District | Unique Venue and Restaurant (

Please check Home – Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana ( for upcoming classes and performances.