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Renowned flamenco artist Rosario Ancer has been one of our Artists-in-Residence this season. We sat down with Rosario to ask her about her current project, La Monarca.
The Dance Centre (TDC): What inspired the creation of La Monarca?
Rosario Ancer (RA): People have often asked what drives me, and to tell you the truth I can never answer this question. La Monarca begins an exploration of this issue for me, prompted by a note from my partner Victor in 2010 as we returned from tour in Mexico: “…I also ran into another Canadian friend of mine in Mexico, who I always see at that time of the year: La Monarca – the monarch butterfly. I don’t know how they do it, but everywhere we were we saw them going in the same direction into strong headwinds around big buildings- six feet off the ground or ten stories high. They never fail to amaze.”
La Monarca gives insight into our motivations and driving force through understanding the Monarch butterfly, its cycle of life and constant migration.
TDC: Can you tell us about the layering of sound and light used in La Monarca?
RA: The artistic innovations revolve around the idea of creating more perceptual units of dance movements. Central to this process is the aligning, or layering arrangement of sound and light as visual extensions of dance performance. In this piece each dancer’s shoes are wirelessly connected to a computer running a custom program written by Michael Heid that interprets and coordinates stage lighting, color and intensity based on the dancers’ input. This creates a symbiotic spectacle enhancing each performer’s movements and enriching the overall visual experience of the show. These sound and body movement visualizations are innovations to help deconstruct the fabric of flamenco art, surprise the audience with a narrative material in live reinvention that takes apart all its elements and questions them experimentally before putting them back together in seemingly random order.
TDC: How do you hope your work helps to deconstruct flamenco stereotypes?
RA: I did not set out to specifically deconstruct flamenco stereotypes.
To create work the way I envision it, I felt the need to connect and collaborate with artists of different disciplines. Flamenco – my chosen art form – is the tool I use to express my curiosity and reflect on my life journey. If my work is helping to deconstruct flamenco stereotypes I’m happy to hear that.
TDC: How have audiences been responding to the work so far?
RA: With an amazing accepting enthusiasm!
This work demonstrates the unlimited possibilities of flamenco art making, while maintaining the very soul of flamenco intact. We just came back from our tour of La Monarca in 5 British Columbia cities. Audience members are asking when we’ll be back to their cities and also they are very interested in workshops and a residency.
Photo by Tim Matheson