ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The University of New Mexico professor who started the only Flamenco degree program in the world announced she is retiring. Eva Encinias said her passion for Flamenco dance is contagious. “It is truly something I believe is a part of who we are as New Mexicans,” Encinias said.
She belongs to one of the Flamenco families that came to the United States after the Spanish Civil War. Her family brought the dance form right here to Albuquerque. “I was introduced to Flamenco very early on in my life, and I fell in love with it,” Encinias said. “I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a dancer.”
She went on to get a degree in dance at UNM, later developing the Flamenco concentration at the university which took off around the year 2000. Still to this day, it is the only place in the world you can get a degree in Flamenco with hundreds of students coming through her classes yearly. “They come from all over the United States, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico…” Encinias said.
After spending two-thirds of her life at the university growing the program, recruiting dancers from Spain to teach, she is now retiring. Her daughter, who is taking over the concentration, shared the news on Facebook with current and former students commenting to call her an inspiration and pioneer. “It is so rewarding,” Encinias said. “It isn’t me that touches people. It is the art form that touches people.”
Encinias said she hopes her work inspires others to grow the dance form to more universities. “It celebrates our culture, but it also celebrates a much bigger idea of human expression,” Encinias said. “I think that is something we can’t get enough of.”
Encinias is also responsible for starting Festival Flamenco Albuquerque, the most important Flamenco event in the world outside of Spain. She said she will continue her work at the National Institute of Flamenco during her retirement.