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De La Raíz (From the Root)


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De La Raíz – From the Root
Friday, May 4 – Sunday, May 6, 2018
Friday & Saturday at 8pm, Sunday at 3pm
at Harbourfront Centre's Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W 3rd Floor, Toronto, ON Tickets: $36-$48 (Discounts for Seniors, Students, Arts Workers and Groups 10+)
Call the Harbourfront Centre Box Office: 416-973-4000

The Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company (EESDC) proudly presents the world premiere of De La Raíz – From the Root, an exquisite evening that showcases both the roots of flamenco and its proliferation as a vital contemporary art form embraced around the world.

Choreographed by two master artists – Artistic Director Esmeralda Enrique and returning Dora Award-winning guest artist Juan Ogalla of Spain, De La Raíz runs Friday, May 4 to Sunday, May 6 at Fleck Dance Theatre as part of Harbourfront Centre’s NextSteps.

EESDC’s season presentation highlights the legacy of flamenco’s early cafés cantantes in Spain’s Andalucía region (Sevilla, Cádiz, Málaga and environs) in the mid-1800s. Flamenco first took root amidst the great artists of these venues where singers, dancers and spectators gathered. Ms Enrique notes, “Initially flamenco was experienced only in intimate settings, mostly at family gatherings or informally in taverns (many of which actually had signs prohibiting singing). The era of the cafés cantantes opened it up to a wider audience and forged flamenco into the art form that we know today: spontaneous, intimate, direct – and with unexpected outbreaks of pure music, song, dance and emotion.”

De La Raíz connects that genesis to the artists who followed and who brought flamenco to all corners of the world, continually contemporizing it. In Act One, EESDC steps back in time to convey how this passionate art form took hold, gloriously evoking those late night cafés cantantes of the mid-nineteenth century that spawned those early popular flamenco artists. With Act 2, EESDC highlights a contemporary interpretation of flamenco that captivates artists of today.

The contrast of time and place between the two sections is achieved both through the sumptuous costuming and the selection of the letras (song verses) and rhythms. Each act beautifully showcases the choreographic range of Ms. Enrique and Mr. Ogalla as well as the virtuosity of the company dancers and musicians.

EESDC’s powerful dancers – Juan Ogalla (guest artist from Cádiz, Spain who recently received the Pellizco Flamenco Award from the 2018 Festival de Jerez and who earned a 2011 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance, returning for his seventh appearance with the company), Esmeralda Enrique, Pamela Briz, Virginia Castro, Paloma Cortés and newcomer Alison MacDonald – are accompanied by the extraordinary virtuosic singer Manuel Soto of Jerez de la Frontera, Spain (who returns for his eighth production with the company). Soto is joined by Montreal-based singer Marcos Marín, who returns to EESDC after many years, and musicians Caroline Planté of Montreal (one of the few female flamenco guitarists in the world who returns for her fourth season with the troupe and is also the Musical Director for the work) and guitarist Benjamin Barrile, returning for his fifth season. (Soto, Planté and Barrile were musicians on last year’s An Iconic Journey: A Celebration of 35 Years, where the full ensemble - including the dancers - was nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Sound Design/Composition for Enrique’s choreography of the piece Latidos (Heartbeats) as the footwork, palmas, canes and castanets all contributed to the sound).

In flamenco, the dance and the music are performed like a conversation, each influencing the other. In De La Raíz, flamenco’s origins are front and centre with guitars, singers and percussion that highlight palmas (rhythmic hand clapping) and jaleos (shouts of encouragement essential in flamenco given by the singers to embolden the dancers). For De La Raíz, older styles such as a courtly baroque escuela bolera and a fandango with tambourines are presented, along with a myriad of flamenco dance techniques, both traditional and new.

ESMERALDA ENRIQUE SPANISH DANCE COMPANY is valued for its important pioneering contribution to the development of flamenco in Canada. It peerlessly stands on the pillars of traditional flamenco singing, dance and music while beautifully balancing classicism with a contemporary aesthetic. EESDC has been presenting an annual Toronto Season since 1990 and has developed an ever-expanding repertoire that has earned both critical and popular acclaim. The company is recognized for the exceptional level of its productions, receiving three Dora Mavor Moore Awards in addition to 21 nominations over the years. Esmeralda Enrique and her exemplary company of dancers and musicians enthrall audiences with the contagious excitement and full depth of feeling that the passionate art of flamenco delivers. NOW Magazine readers voted EESDC Toronto’s Best Dance Company for 2015. http://www.flamencos.net