Monday morning I spoke with Ritmo Flamenco's Anjelica Scannura, creator and performer in the upcoming NextSteps production of Danzas Sagradas (Sacred Dances). At just twenty four years old Ms. Scannura is presenting her first solo work for NextSteps at the Harbourfront Centre. She spoke with me about how she created this work for NextSteps and her career as a Toronto dancer.
For Ms. Scannura, Flamenco is in the blood. Both of her parents are Flamenco performers and created the company Ritmo Flamenco in 1996. Her mother is a dancer, and her father Roger is a guitarist. He composed and performers the music in Danzas Sagradas.
At the age of eleven Anjelica began traveling regularly to Spain where she was exposed to different styles of Flamenco and her technique grew. She says performing in a NextSteps Season has been a goal for years. In 2011 she met with the Harbourfront's Lynanne Sparrow who pushed her to develop a solo work for NextSteps. After that she received a Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Professional Development Grant which allowed her to travel to return to Spain for further training and to develop her latest work.
Danzas Sagradas is inspired by the famous Pablo Picasso painting Guernica. The work is on display at Museo Reina Sophia in Madirid. "Since I have been traveling mostly to Madrid in the last few years, I found myself inexplicably drawn to it... people line up to see Guernica because it is stunning. But yet, a lot of people aren't aware of it. So I felt I should bring it back with me."
Danzas Sagradas is actually five pieces in one, and each piece breaks down a different section of the painting. "Flamenco is very difficult, and normally when the company performs we have three or four dancers, so you get a bit of break. But that wasn't possible for this show." Says Anjelica, "ninety five percent of the dancing is me, so we have also incorporated film. The film helps to tell the story of the painting. Although it is not a literal story but more of a way to facilitate and interpretation the painting."
Danzas Sagradas has a limited run this weekend at the Harbourfront Centre's Studio Theatre as part of this year's NextSteps Season. Performances are Friday November 15th and Saturday November 16th at 8 p.m. Click here to purchase tickets. And check out the trailer below.