Flamenco dance fusion is a risk worth taking

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On stage at the Scotiabank Dance Centre through November 14th, Café de Chinitas, Viñetas del Mozaico, fuses flamenco with classical, pop and Asian dance.  For dancer Kelty McKerracher, this fusion of dance is a risk worth taking.

Cafe de Chinitas1. Tell us about Café de Chinitas, Viñetas del Mozaico – what can audiences expect?

Cafe de Chinitas, Vinetas del Mozaico is a series of over a dozen dance vignettes that showcase a vivid array of musical, cultural, and aesthetic interpretations of flamenco. The concept is based on the legendary Cafe de Chinitas (Chinese Cafe) that existed in Malaga, Spain in the golden era of flamenco. Each vignette is unique, with its own history and cultural influences, yet they come together to create a rich aesthetic whole that elegantly challenges the flamenco status quo. This is the beauty of a mosaic – the many become one, and the one, many. Audiences can expect to experience the full range of emotion that flamenco is famous for – from the thrilling to the heart-breaking, the gentle to the fierce.

2. Where did the idea come for this fusion of Flamenco dancing?

Kasandra la China and Oscar Nieto, the founders of Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, come from strong values of diversity. The dance company is deeply enriched by the cultural diversity of its members and the school welcomes students regardless of age, ethnicity, religion, sexual or gender identification. With a company that includes 18 dancers of mixed backgrounds, among them Filipina, Chinese, Spanish, Iraqi, and German, the cultural richness of the show is unparalleled. This richness manifest artistically in the interpretations of flamenco that audiences will be treated to in Cafe de Chinitas. They will see flamenco puro, classical Spanish, Asian fusion, and exciting contemporary dance innovations. It takes courage to move beyond the traditional and venture into creative new territory – which is what Al Mozaico is becoming known for in the Vancouver arts scene.

3. Do you find this fusion difficult as a dancer?

Not at all. Personally, I find these innovations exciting and I feel they add immensely to the genre of flamenco and dance in general. We are uplifted by creating new forms – it is our job as artists to challenge the ‘canon’ and take risks in a contemporary context. As artistic director, Kasandra La China does an excellent job of finding that common thread that gives each number its sentido, or place in the whole. And dancing flamenco to Prince? (Yes, you heard me.) That is a dream come true!

4. How long have you been dancing? What is your background?

I discovered flamenco at age 18 in Vancouver’s Kino Cafe, a local flamenco tablao. It was love at first sight and over the last 6 years, as I’ve become more involved with Al Mozaico and had the opportunity to study with excellent maestros both in Vancouver and in Spain, I’ve deepened into the form. With very little dance training in my youth, I consider it a gift to have found such a passion. Currently I’m excited about sharing flamenco with new audiences, especially in marginalized communities, and exploring it as a mode of personal empowerment. If you do take up flamenco – look out! It could hook you…

5. What’s next for Kelty?

I am continuing my dance education with contemporary and ballet classes, and am considering a major in flamenco dance at the University of New Mexico, of all places…flamenco has certainly taught me that you never know what life might bring. In the meantime I will continue my work as an activist, and of course, coining the phrase ‘flamen-queer’…

Café de Chinitas “Viñetas del Mozaico”
Scotiabank Dance Centre, 677 Davie Street, Vancouver
November 12, 13, 2010 at 7:30pm / November 14, 2010 @ 2pm & 7:30pm

Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre is proud to present Café de Chinitas, Viñetas del Mozaico. This colourful flamenco dance spectacular showcases 18 dancers in a dozen vignettes featuring a mosaic of music settings ranging from pure flamenco, flamenco fusion, classical,and pop to the unique Asian fusion of Vancouverʼs internationally renowned Orchid Ensemble.

Tickets are $21 – $25 available online at Tickets Tonight or by calling 604-684-2787.

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