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2024 Gala

Time: September 14 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Venue: Historic Academy of Music Theatre and Main Street between 5th and 7th Street

The Academy Center of the Arts announces its annual fundraiser featuring an evening of elegance and entertainment outside on Main Street. Join us for dinner, performance by Tablao Flamenco, silent and live auctions, and a chance to dance the night away. As Lynchburg’s hub for arts, culture, and community engagement, we understand the vital role art plays in fostering growth and vitality in our region. Art has the power to strengthen social connections, celebrate diversity, and transform the impossible into reality. It cultivates friendships, fosters unity among communities, and empowers individuals of all ages to be catalysts for positive change. But every great journey begins with a single spark. We invite you to be part of this unforgettable evening, where we come together to pave the way for a brighter, more vibrant future. Join us and let’s spark creativity, connection, and community spirit together.

Public sale starts August 5th. Contact Sarah Proctor at [email protected] for pricing and availability

Featuring Tablao Flamenco

A note from the Artistic Director:

Flamenco is raw emotion through movement and sound, given form by the pulse of the guitar strings, the wail of a voice, and the rhythm of the dance. The sounds of Sephardic, Gypsy, and Arab traditions are entwined in the history of Spain. Flamenco is a vehicle to express the wide range of emotions inherent in the human experience, from joy to pain, from love to loss, and everything in between. Every night is different because every day is different. That is the freedom flamenco gives us, and it is what we hope to share with you here tonight.

— Leah Keith

About Tablao Flamenco

PETER Basil Bogdanos (Percussionist) is a New York City-based multifaceted percussionist/drummer who has worked with major figures in flamenco, hip-hop, jazz, salsa, rock acts and everything in between. In the past 20 years, he has toured the United States, Japan and Europe with Grammy winning hip-hop group the Digable Planets, Motown artist Zhane, jazz great Bobby Previte’s Bitches Brew project, salsa legend Orlando Marin, groundbreaking Greek worldbeat act Annabouboula, as well as a stint with rock diva Ronnie Spector, just to name a few. In the flamenco sphere, Peter has performed with all of New York City’s major flamenco figures and companies as well as with visiting artists from Spain, such as Antonio Hidalgo, Alejandro Granados, Chuscales, and Raul Ortega, just to name a few. He has also had the pleasure of touring with Martin Santangelo and Soledad Barrio’s Noche Flamenco. Peter now lives and performs in the Hudson Valley.

CRISTINA TERESA HALL (Dancer) is a flamenco dance artist with an unusual technique and vision. She shapes her art with rigor, personality, innovative creativity, and a respect for art in all its genres, interpreted through her unique international lens. Born in San Francisco, California, she has worked with artists such as Israel Galván, Andrés Marín, Eduardo Guerrero, Manuela Ríos, and French choreographer, Yann Lheureux, and performed in important festivals such as La Bienal de Flamenco de Sevilla, El Festival de Jerez, The Flamenco Festival of Dusseldorf and the Flamenco Festival of Madrid, among others. Additionally, Cristina has been producing her own creations and choreographies since 2007, including experimental dance videos to test and preserve new concepts, translating her choreography into new contexts of architecture, nature, and the digital sphere. Cristina performs regularly in different tablaos throughout Seville, Spain and tours regularly throughout Europe, the United States, Mexico, and other countries, combining it with her pedagogical work.

AMPARO HEREDIA (Singer) is the 2021 winner of the Lámpara Minera of the Festival Internacional del Cante de las Minas, one of the most prestigious flamenco singing competitions in the world. Known as “La Repompilla”, Amparo was born in Malaga in 1970, daughter of the mythical Rafaela “La Repompa” and the guitarist Luis Heredia. She started singing at the age of 16 in Miami under the tutelage of Juan de Alba. After performing in the most important tablaos of the United States, she returned to Spain and immediately began performing in the most important tablaos of Madrid, most notably Casa Patas. Amparo is highly sought after as a singer for flamenco dance companies and has shared the stage with practically all the stars of flamenco. She is also an accomplished protagonist in the field of singing “alante” as a recitalist. Amparo is the recipient of many awards, including first prize for Peteneras in the Concurso de Cante Flamenco Niño del Museo de Adamuz de Córdoba and first prize in La Silla de Oro de Leganés in 2017.

Raquel Heredia (Dancer), also known as “La Repompa”, was born into a family of flamenco artists: niece of Enriqueta Reyes “la Repompa de Malaga” and daughter of Rafaela Reyes “la Repompilla. She began dancing professionally at 15 years of age in New York City and began touring the world at age 18, to Japan, France, Italy, and Turkey, amongst others. She has shared the stage with some of the most important figures of flamenco today, like Antonio Canales, Juan Andrés Maya, El Farru, Karime Amaya, Amador Rojas, Pepe Torres and many more. Raquel la Repompa’s dance is known for her strength, her elegance, and unique personal style. Raquel Heredia appears courtesy of Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana.

JUANI DE LA ISLA (Guitar) is a much sought-after flamenco guitarist and composer born in San Fernando in Cádiz, Spain. He began his musical education studying with the great flamenco singer Rafael Romero and the celebrated flamenco guitarist Manolo Sanlúcar. During his career, he has toured internationally accompanying some of the finest flamenco artists of this century including Jose Mercé, Chato de la Isla, Juan Villar, Rancapino, Pansequito and Aguilar de Vejer; and dancers Javier Barón, Sara Baras and Manuela Carrasco. He has composed music for the flamenco dance company of Cristina Hoyos and for over a decade has been the musical director for the popular flamenco singer “El Barrio.” Juani de la Isla’s recording career includes participation on more than 300 albums with some of Spain’s finest flamenco artists. In 2015, he released his first solo CD “Libertad En Mis Manos.” He is the founder and director of the musical group “The Juani de la Isla Quartet” featuring performers from Spain and Latin America. His participation in Tablao Flamenco is in collaboration with Casa Flamenca in Albuquerque, NM.

RAÚL ORTEGA (Co-Artistic Director & Dancer), born in Alcorcón, a suburb of Madrid, has performed as lead dancer and choreographer for some of the most important flamenco companies of the world: Manuel Soler, Rafael Amargo, Antonio Canales and Maria Pages. Additionally, he has toured with the company of maestro Luis Dávila “Luisillo” throughout Japan, Mexico, France and Switzerland as a principal dancer. Raul formed an integral part of the company of Rafael Amargo, from 2001 until 2006 as principal dancer and choreographer in the shows “Amargo,” “Tablao,” Enrramblao,” “Intimo” and “Amor Brujo” touring worldwide and culminating in a performance of “Poeta en Nueva York” at City Center in New York City. Since 2006, Raúl has focused on his own creative projects while still being a much sought-after guest artist for other flamenco productions. In 2008, Raul created a show that combined hip hop dancers, tap dancers, flamenco and percussion with equal parts humor called “Hermanos de Baile,” which opened in Barcelona to critical acclaim. In 2011, Raul returned to his roots, presenting “Flamenco Inside” at the Teatro Arenal in Madrid, a strictly traditional flamenco show. “Flamenco Inside” has toured Canada, Israel, Mexico and Tokyo. Raul founded his own tablao flamenco, Puro Arte Jerez in 2014, where artists like El Funi, Alejandro Granados, Beatriz Morales and Soraya Clavijo, among others, grace the stage. While running the tablao, Raul continues to guest dance in the famous tablaos of El Corral de la Moreria in Madrid, Los Tarantos, Casa Camarón as well as in flamenco festivals across Spain.

SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ (Singer), was born in 1995 in Puerto de Santa María on the southern coast of Spain in the province of Cádiz into a family of flamenco artists. At an early age, his father would accompany his singing on the guitar, both in his practice sessions and early performances. At the age of seventeen, he traveled to Seville to begin training in flamenco singing at the Fundación Flamenco Cristina Heeren. Upon graduation he began working in many flamenco venues in Seville with some of Spain’s most prestigious flamenco performers: among them Carmen Ledesma and Juan Betanzos. His career continued with appearances in Madrid, Germany and Poland. In 2017 he was a finalist in the competition Premio Nacional Bailes Por Alegrias Peña La Perla de Cai. Since then, Sebastian has made a name for himself performing across Spain in venues as diverse as flamenco peñas, flamenco clubs and large theatres, most notably at Tablao Los Gallos, La Casa de la Memoria, and Teatro Lope de Vega in Seville. Sebastian Sanchez appears courtesy of Casa Flamenca Albuquerque.

LEAH KEITH (Artistic Director) is Co-Founder and Director of Rhythm of the Arts LLC, a creative producing house and talent agency for touring performing artists. Proudly Latina, she is committed to elevating BIPOC voices on stage and connecting with new audiences and communities. Leah was a professional flamenco dancer, touring and studying in the US and Spain, and her 20-year career history spans artist/tour management and booking, marketing and fundraising, outreach, and performance. Leah has a BA in theatre, emphasis in acting and directing from the University of Northern Colorado and an MFA in Performing Arts Management from Brooklyn College. She, along with her husband, daughter, and dog, live in the Hudson Valley in New York.

RHYTHM OF THE ARTS LLC (Producer) connects presenters with visceral performing arts experiences that audiences crave. The company was founded in 2005 by Peter Bogdanos as a boutique production and management company for culturally specific projects and performing artists. Under the leadership of Leah Keith, Rhythm of the Arts has recently expanded its scope as a booking agency, with a carefully curated roster of artists that responds to the current needs of presenters. We celebrate authentic storytelling, multi-disciplinary projects, cross-cultural collaborations, and live music.  We value the strong connections between artist and audience and take pride in creating experiences and lifting up voices that bring us together in community.   

Sponsored By:

National Endowment for the Arts

Know before you go:

Age Requirement

All patrons, regardless of age, must have a ticket for this event unless otherwise stated. All ages are welcome.

Camera Policy

Videography and audio recording during the performances are prohibited. Photography of the set on stage is allowed pre-show, post-show, and during intermission. But we do ask that you show our designers and visiting performers some love by crediting them (and by tagging us) in your social media posts.

Content Advisory

The Academy Center of the Arts offers a diverse selection of entertainment. Not all productions may appeal to or be appropriate for every guest or for all ages. Ticket buyers should take responsibility for making informed decisions regarding their purchases. We recommend visiting the official show website of each show you are coming to see at the Academy. If you ever have questions about the content or appropriateness of a show, please contact us at [email protected].

Doors Open

Our lobby doors open 60 minutes prior to show time. House doors open 30 minutes prior to show time for seating.

Parking & Directions

Parking is available on-site and throughout downtown Lynchburg. Our parking map (linked below) shows all of the free public and paid parking available. In addition, street parking is also available on most streets.

View Parking & Directions Information

Ticketing Policies

Ticketing purchases are non-refundable. By purchasing a ticket to an event at The Academy Center of the Arts, you are agreeing to our ticketing policy. View our full ticketing policy.


Want to volunteer and see this show for free? Contact Mele Thompson, [email protected]for more information.