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Celia & Paco Fonta

Florida Folklife asked our artists a series of questions to learn more about their traditions and how those traditions have impacted their lives and the lives of those around them. Take a look at the answers we got from Celia & Paco Fonta below.


What folk tradition(s) or traditional art(s) do you practice?

We practice the art and tradition of flamenco music and dance.Photo of Celia Fonta dancing and Paco Fonta playing the guitar

How did you learn those traditions?

My husband, Paco Fonta learned the tradition growing up in a small town in Andalucia Spain, listening to the music in his home and from the town’s traditional musicians. As a young girl I first studied flamenco guitar before discovering dance. I went to Spain as a teenager to pursue my love of flamenco, met my husband Paco, and began to study dance at Madrid's world famous Amor de Dios dance studio.

Why is it important to maintain folk traditions?

I believe it is important to maintain folk traditions because the folk tradition of a people are the roots and soul that sustains them. From the folk traditions of any culture all other creative, experimental and contemporary art is born. I believe the folk traditions throughout the world and its practitioners are the keepers of our humanity.

How did you first get involved with the Florida Folklife Program?

We first got involved with the folk life program 30 years ago because my husband Paco was contacted by Tina Bucuvales and she suggested that he apply to the apprenticeship program. It is possible that she had seen him performing in Miami. He applied and received the apprenticeship as master artist for flamenco guitar and singing twice, and later I applied and received the apprenticeship as master artist teaching flamenco dance once. We later performed at the folklife traditions area at the Florida Folk Festival in 1998.

What Florida Folklife Program projects have you participated in and/or what folklife awards have you received?

We have participated in The Folklife Apprenticeship Program, have received the Florida Folk Heritage Award and have participated in a the Artist in Residence series.

How has the Florida Folklife Program benefited you or what value does the program have?

Working with the Florida Folklife Program has been one of the most rewarding experiences we have had throughout our careers. We have been able to further out tradition of flamenco, sharing and teaching and passing down the tradition, to our apprentices, to students in our community and beyond and growing as artists and individuals.

How can the Florida Folklife Program better serve you?

To continue doing what you have been doing for another 40 years and more!