The members of Calle Verde, dancers Michelle Harding and Maria Avila and guitarist Pedro Mole, come to Victoria for a July 28 performance during the Victoria Flamenco Festival, happening July 26-29 around the city. Audrey Bow photo

THE FIERY FLAMENCO: Annual festival set to heat up Victoria

Performances free and ticketed, plus workshops, highlight celebration of the dance

By Monique Salez

Monday Magazine contributor

The long-term vision for the Victoria Flamenco Festival is to have international, national and local flamenco artists on the South Island collaborate in performance and workshops.

Six years on, this festival is right on track and features a not-to-be missed show at the Metro Theatre on July 28. Titled Liminal, the show is a collaboration with New York dancer Pajaro Negro (Aliesha Bryan) and Vancouver crew Calle Verde (dancers Michelle Harding, Maria Avila and guitarist Pedro Mole). It gestated in Granada, Spain when the Canadian flamencos made an inspired connection with Aliesha. Along with seeing these beautiful artists dance, you can take dance workshops with the Calle Verde dancers.

As well, Centennial Square will have a weekend of free dance performances, and don’t forget the other hot ticket, the flamenco guitar night at Hermann’s Jazz Club. Our city will celebrate local guitarists Jake Lee, Gareth Owen and Juan de Marias along with a guest from Mexico Josue Tacoronte and cantaor (singer) Jafelin Helten.

Jan Bate, festival co-ordinator, has been watching the festival grow up and is proud of the direction it is taking as it starts to reach out and attract diverse artists and support.

This year a tasty sponsorship with Cherry Point Winery will be showcase an aptly named red wine, Gitanos at Liminal so grab a glass and travel to Spain in your own city!

Of the many beauties of flamenco, one everyone can enjoy is the nature of the active audience. In flamenco you can be an aficionado or educated audience member who responds with jaleo or shouts of encouragement to the performers. This interplay is at the heart of flamenco where everyone is involved in the experience, everyone has a hand in making the moment exquisite so go share your beautiful self, your unique voice and enjoy the offerings … ole tu!

For more details, visit their website victoriaflamencofestival.com.

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