“Raíces y Alas” was conceived in 2009. Its mandate is to explore and to present both the roots (raíces) alongside the possible paths, or the wings (alas), that flamenco could take in the future. This project has a two-fold aim: to give flamenco artists a unique medium in which to present traditional and non-tradition flamenco works alike, and to enrich the flamenco tradition in Canada as a whole.

Raices y Alas: Pairings
September 20 & 21, 2013
The Cultch – Vancouver East Cultural Centre

Raices y Alas: PAIRINGS (Roots and Wings: Pairings) takes inspiration from the relationships between contrasting musical and dance forms, continuing Raices y Alas Flamenco’s exploration of both the roots of flamenco and the contemporary evolution of the art, pushing the boundaries of the current expression of flamenco in Canada.

Featuring the classical Spanish and flamenco artistry of Emilio Ochando Talero (Spain) and Vancouver’s Andrea Williams, Michelle Harding, Palma Bjarnason Kontogianni and Zosia Hortsing along with the talented Ashley Kirkham (bellydance), Dayna Szyndrowski (tap), Farnaz Ohadi (Persian), Neha Munshi (kathak), Nelson Leis (Actor).

Musicians include: Gareth Owen (flamenco guitar), Peter Mole (flamenco guitar), Liam Macdonald (percussion), Tim Gerwing (tabla), Saina Khaledi (Santour), Tyson Naylor (piano).


Raices y Alas Poster 2012“Raíces y Alas: COLORES”
November 2&3, 2012
Scotia Bank Dance Centre

Taking inspiration from the relationships between music, colours and emotions, this work explores both the roots of flamenco and the contemporary evolution of the art, pushing the boundaries of the current expression of flamenco in Canada.

Co-produced with Caravan World Rhythms and featuring the artistry of Vancouver’s own “Fred Astaire of Flamenco” Oscar Nieto, and the superpowers of Kasandra “La China”, Michelle Harding, and Andrea Williams along with Calgary’s innovative creative flamenca Rosanna Terraciano.

Tunes and creative juice from the illustrious and insanely wonderful (in alphabetical order): Farnaz Ohadi (flamenco/persian cante), Gareth Owen (flamenco guitar), Jafelin Helten (flamenco cante), Liam MacDonald (percussion), Maria Avila (flamenco cante), Mehlinda Heartt (harp), and Pat Earnst (violin/fiddle).


Raices y Alas Poster 2011Raíces y Alas: VOCES
September 11, 2011
Presentation House Theatre, North Vancouver

Flamenco as a genre groups together several voices – that of the singer, the guitarist, and the dancer. The roots of flamenco music are in the song form. It is also the voice of a people’s history. The guitar has taken the song form and grown the music into a more contemporary art form, for example embracing melodies from Moorish and Celtic influences, all the while staying true to the traditions of the melodies. The dance is the visual manifestation of the song form. The dancer is the piece of this ensemble that most stretches the limits of flamenco tradition. Contemporary flamenco dancers in Spain have incorporated modern, classical, jazz, hip-hop and dramatic dance forms into their performance.

One important part of this program was the full staging of the contemporary flamenco work “Genus”. This work involves five dancers, four flamenco and one contemporary, and is the voice of innovation in the program. The first movement was created for “Raíces y Alas” (2010) and had been germinating to its current form since. The most daring piece in “Raíces y Alas”, it was met with resounding acclaim and as a result has been featured in several Lower Mainland shows since.

Raices y Alas Poster 2010Raíces y Alas
September 26, 2010
Havana Theatre, Vancouver

“Raíces y Alas (Roots and Wings)”, sold out five days after the release of tickets and three weeks before the show date. As a result of this demand and the public’s response to the show, a second run was planned for early 2011.

In addition, it is important for flamenco, and flamenco artists, to be pushed outside the currently established artistic boxes. The introduction of more contemporary movement and new-to-Canada techniques to the flamenco repertoire was a daring move in a traditionally more conservative school. Nevertheless, the performance of a new choreography “Genus” was provocative and well received. Moreover, the collaboration with Persian, Sufi, Contemporary, and Classical artists for “Raíces y Alas” has had an impact on the breadth and width of the art form within this flamenco community.