Hierro Forjado (pronounced ‘yerro forhado’) is a flamenco dance troupe founded and lead by Alexandra Simmons. It is comprised of women of all walks of life, who have chosen to pursue the rigorous and demanding study of flamenco, as they believe it brings strength, grace, passion, rhythm and soul to their lives. HF, which translates to wrought iron, is modern flamenco at its best – fresh, intoxicating, dramatic – mixed with the traditional charm of old world flamenco from Spain. The dancers of HF are driven to this art form by the love they feel for flamenco and for their need to communicate through this powerful art form.
Alexandra was born and raised in the multicultural environment of tropical Venezuela. Since she was a child she was taught both the importance of acquiring a good education and the value of the arts. Throughout her childhood and early teens she took ballet and tap lessons, and became proficient in playing the cuatro (Venezuelan string instrument, studied for 4 years) and the piano (studied for 6 years).
Alex was never interested in sports: at age 15 (after much insistence) she was taken out of her tennis lessons and taken to Tatiana Reyna’s Flamenco Academy, where she discovered and fell in love with flamenco. She soon worked her way through the different levels and in the year 2000 she became part of the Compañía Profesional de Baile Tatiana Reyna. From the year 2000 to 2006 she trained and performed with the company in local restaurants and theaters. During this time she had the opportunity to study under many outstanding professionals, such as Helena Pachón (Spain), Daniela Tugues (Venezuela) and Anita Loynaz (Venezuela). She later was invited to participate in numerous performances in Caracas with Anita Loynazʼs Flamenco Dance Company. During those 6 years she was also a flamenco instructor at Tatiana Reyna’s Dance Academy and taught this powerful dance to over 300 students. Aside from dancing, Alex always had a strong intellectual drive: in 2005 she obtained her Doctorate Degree in Human Population Genetics from the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research (IVIC).
In 2006 Alex moved to the city of Houston where she continued to teach flamenco and perform. From 2006 to 2008 she danced with La Esencia Flamenca Dance Company. During 2008-2009, she co-directed Soniquete Flamenco Dance Company together with Ana de la Peza, performing in numerous venues from restaurants (Rioja, Mi Luna, Andalucía) and art galleries (The ARTery, MFAH) to the prestigious Jones Hall in the heart of the Theater District of Houston. Today she is a freelance dancer with a new independent project: Hierro Forjado Flamenco (est 2010), and continues maturing as a flamenco dancer by taking workshops with artists like Belén Maya, Sergio “El Javi”, Adela Campallo, Timo Lozano, Antonio Vargas, Antonio Granjero, Estefanía Ramirez, Pilar Ogalla, Ana Romero, Concha Jareño, Eva Encinias, Olga Marcioni “La China”, Domingo Ortega, Niurca Márquez, Antonio Hidalgo, Maria Jose Franco, Olga Pericet, Carmen Gonzalez Rodriguez, Carmen Coy, Israel Galván, Pastora Galván, Susana Lupiañez Pinto “La Lupi”, Pilar Andújar. Alex has also made strides in her scientific career: she is a Tenured Associate Professor in the Biology Department at the University of St Thomas.
Since 2015 Alex has directed and produced a yearly show: 2014 – Flamenco Beginnings, 2015 – Nuestras Raíces Flamencas, which feature HF’s Troupe and local flamenco artists. Alex and HF’s Troupe are currently developing this year’s program: Nuevos Horizontes.
Hierro Forjado and HF’s Performing Troupe has performed in Dance Houston at The Wortham Center (2013, 2014), Discover Dance at Discovery Green (2013) and Julydoscope (2014).Hierro Forjado has also danced in several fundraisers, private events and student recitals since 2010.
For more information visit www.hierroforjadoflamenco.com.