A celebration of flamenco

[attach]5771[/attach]When Angela de Sol dances, her costume and her movements flow like water.

“Aguas”, Spanish for waters, is a recurring theme in the latest production by the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company.

“They’re saying water is an elemental life force,” said de Sol, a performer and instructor with the company. “It creates things and it can destroy things. There’s a tread of that running through the show.”

As a flamenco dancer, de Sol lives and teaches close to the water in the Little India neighbourhood. Although she’s been performing various forms of dance nearly all her life, it was not until she crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a trip to Europe that she first discovered flamenco and fell in love with it.

“Prior to starting with flamenco I grew up as a kid doing ballet and moved into Latin music,” she said. “On a trip I saw a flamenco company perform and it had that same kind of feeling, that same sort of passion that I really enjoy.”

Upon her return to Toronto, de Sol signed up for a flamenco dance class taught by Esmeralda Enrique and soon began training with her company. Enrique has toured with some of the world’s most renowned flamenco companies. She is described by de Sol as a generous teacher, but an intimidating performer.

“I actually met her as a teacher before I met her as a dance artist,” de Sol said of Enrique. “I think in some ways that was really good for me because I wasn’t intimidated by her stage persona.

“She’s a very warm person, she’s a very humble person but her stage presence, like most flamenco dancers, is very commanding.”

For the past 18 years, de Sol has been with the company and said she is excited to be a part of its 30th anniversary performance running from April 19–22 at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre.

“I think people who don’t know flamenco really can appreciate the dance just because visually it’s quite appealing,” she said. “If you are already an aficionado, the musical ensemble is just a spectacular line up.

“We’ll use the stereotypical dress, called the bata de cola, with the long train, which makes beautiful, beautiful lines, which you would not see at a smaller flamenco venue just because you don’t have the room for it.”

The show will also include male dancer Juan Ogalla, winner of the 2011 Dora Mavor Moore Award for his outstanding performance of a dance choreographed by Enrique.

“We have a male dancer who really is, and I mean this in a good way, the stereotypical male flamenco dancer,” de Sol said. “He’s handsome, he’s such a powerful performer.”

Because the company is celebrating its 30th anniversary it will perform a mix of new works along with several crowd favourites from over the years with de Sol featured in a number of ensemble pieces as well as a duet.

“I encourage people to come out and see the show and open their eyes and their ears to something maybe they haven’t seen before,” she said.