Cuadro flamenco dance coming to South Vancouver

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Kasandra “La China” Lea (above) performs flamenco with an accompanying guitarist, a singer, and a percussionist. Submitted Photo

Reported by Sean Hitrec

Born in the caravans of Romani camps in southern Spain, the expressive and communicative cuadro flamenco dance will be showcased at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on Nov. 18.

Kasandra “La China” Lea, along with 12 other dancers, will perform solos alongside well-known guitarists, singers and percussionists in a performance titled, Cuadro. Special guest singer Vicente Griego will be travelling from New Mexico to perform.

Cuadro a special combination of performances

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The oldest record of flamenco dates back to 1774, in José Cadalso’s book, Las Cartas Marruecas.

Cuadro flamenco is unique because it consists of one dancer, singer, guitarist and percussionist (often doing palmas, or hand clapping) are constantly communication throughout the dance.

“It becomes more of a jazz improvisational group as opposed to ballet class where you have 10 girls on stage going at the same time.” Lea said. “You [as the dancer] become a musician. When you are dancing you function like a fourth person in a jazz band.”

Amber Kingsley, a forensics anthropology student at SFU, will be performing her first solo show since switching to flamenco after 20 years in ballet. Kingsley said flamenco has more passion than ballet.

“There’s more room for expression and more room for fiery passion that you see out there on the stage with some of these girls,” Kingsley said. “It’s like you just get up and it comes from some place inside, that you just grab deep down and pull out some sort of emotion that you didn’t know you had. “

Women prominent in flamenco

Cynthia Shippam has been dancing flamenco for over 10 years and will be performing on that night as well. Some of Shippam’s passion for the dance has to do with the role of the female.

“Women are not victims in flamenco as a general rule… generally they are very powerful.” Shippam said. “My particular piece is actually for my mom.”

Lea said the Nov. 18 event is also a teaser for flamenco events happening in the spring of 2017 at the Norman Rothstein Theatre.

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