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August 2023: Jhoely Triana
Who is Jhoely Triana in a sentence?
I’m a dancer, choreographer, adventurer and most importantly a doer, I never stop moving!
Tell us a bit about your work and practice.
My main practice is flamenco. I love it. Why? It’s the most challenging dance form I have ever done. Not just the physicality but the musicality is just something else! I’ve never been so thirsty for more. In flamenco you are a musician, you must learn about the guitar, the tones, the singing, the different song forms, the rules of the song forms, how to call and respond to the music, how to be part of the band; and this band never plays it the same twice. It’s a very complex structured improvisation and on top of all that one has to be fierce, beautiful, strong, elegant, explosive and gentle all at the same time. It’s a form that lets you age with grace and dignity. Flamenco is about the deepest emotions of the soul and it pulls at every heart string: the joy and celebration as well as the sorrow and darkness.
My choreographic work focuses on self expression, vulnerability, authenticity through flamenco music and dance while exploring contemporary concepts of urbanization, societal struggles, and acts of resistance through building community.
How long have you been dancing?
Since I was in the womb! I’m Colombian and music and dance has always been part of life. It’s coffee in the morning, it’s cooking, it’s sweeping the floor, it’s waiting at the red light, it’s brushing one’s teeth. I’ve been dancing all my life but in movement classes since 5 years old so if I age myself…35 years. Flamenco the last 15 years.
How does dance fit into your life currently?
My dance practice is growing exponentially these days and it’s really exciting. I am developing new works, presenting current work all over the city and in various locations in the province, grant writing, applying for new opportunities, and generally dreaming big. I’m busy! I’m either in class, workshops, rehearsal or performance most days of the week. When I have time off from flamenco I’m usually dancing salsa or soca and any vacation must involve dance in some way.
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
I’ve struggled all my life to be a ”dancer.” When you are young there is so much competition and there is a sense of not being good enough. In my resistance to that culture of competition, I have kept dancing, adapting to what my body can let me do along the way, never giving up, even if it was just for me. And in doing so year after year the practice and the craft develop (wisdom is a beautiful gift). I have been brave and continued to push this magical snowball bigger and bigger to see how far it takes me. And in doing so confirmed to myself that dance is the meaning of my life. In movement, connected to music, I am most free. I only have one life to live so I dance at every possible moment. I dance and create because I want to and I need to. I have so much more to explore and share with others. My journey is just beginning. My goal is to dance until my last breathe.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
Emotion – it has to move me
Music – music is the impulse
Connection – physical, spiritual, community
Do you have a particular practice that you carry out each day or have you implemented new practices over these last few years?
Listen to my body. Be gentle and know when I can push hard and when to take it easy. My body is my vessel, I need to care for it if we are going to dance a lifetime together.
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
The newsletter! I’ve learned about so many opportunities that I was brave enough to apply for and some have really helped me move forward in my dance career. Every step helps and others are there to help you up this winding path. Take advantage of services available because you never know what it will lead to.
Interested in becoming a Dance Centre Member? Learn more here.
We support the development of dance in BC as a resource centre providing programs and services for dance professionals.
Photos by Lula-Belle Jedynak