From deep emotions to fun, flamenco festival has it all


What: Victoria Flamenco Festival
Where: Britannia Legion, Centennial Square, Metro Theatre and other city venues
When: Thursday through Sunday
Tickets and information:

Get ready to shout, clap and stamp your feet as the Victoria Flamenco Festival storms into town this weekend.

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“Flamenco has a passion and a mystery,” said Jan Bate, festival co-ordinator for the past six years. “It has rhythms that are very different from what we hear in North America. And melodies in the minor scale makes the music haunting.”

Some flamenco pieces are very deep and speak to the challenging emotions we all feel, said Bate.

“Other pieces are just for fun — “por fiesta” — for the party. It’s a beautiful combination of very deep emotional moving pieces, combined with joy and fun.”

The goal of the festival is to give amazing local artists a chance to strut their stuff, said Bate. “We’re also bringing in experienced flamenco artists like Josue Tacoronte from México.”

The festival begins tonight with Flamenco Guitar Night. Three of Victoria’s virtuoso guitar soloists — Gareth Owen, Juan de Marias and Jake Lee — will play alongside Tacoronte and Jafelin Helten of Vancouver.

The show was originally going to be held at Hermann’s Jazz Club. It has been moved to the Britannia Legion, 780 Summit Ave.

A few more tickets are available for the 8 p.m. show.

Tacoronte is performing in Centennial Square on Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. There will be a free show at the Cameron Bandshell in Beacon Hill Park from 1:30 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.

Free flamenco performances will also be held in Centennial Square on Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

On Friday night, poet Jan Zwicky will read from recent work and perform a suite of poems with flamenco artists.

It begins at 7:30 p.m. at Intrepid Theatre on Blanshard Street.

The headline show on Saturday night features Aliesha Bryan, an award-winning dancer from New York City, whose stage name is Pájaro Negro.

She will be joined by a trio from Vancouver called Calle Verde.

“It will be a collaboration between Calle Verde and Aliesha and they have never worked together before. And that’s one of the really exciting things about flamenco. You can put people on the same stage who have never worked together before and it makes for the best flamenco because it’s flamenco on the edge. It adds a spontaneous element to the performance,” said Bate.

The show begins at 8 p.m. at Metro Studio Theatre.

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