|Esmeralda Enrique in De Idas y Vueltas, at Toronto's Fleck Dance Theatre (Photo: Hamid Karimi)|
The powerful, absolutely top-notch, program of hand-clapping, foot-stomping, throaty flamenco which Toronto’s Esmeralda Enrique presented late last month at the Fleck Dance Theatre inside Harbourfront Centre, explored the idea of human migration, and how when people move, ebbing and flowing like the oceans carrying them from their homelands to a new land of (it is hoped) opportunity, things are lost and things are gained. As a theme for a dance show, essentially an examination of how people move, it fit like the proverbial shoe.
Flamenco is a dance/music hybrid, born in Spain but indelibly stamped with a wide array of influences visited upon it by a whole of host of immigrants past, among them marauding and native sons and daughters returning from the Americas armed with the cadences and rhythms of Cuba, Mexico and other Conquistador countries where Spanish people have traditionally immigrated to and emigrated from over the centuries. Some of these journeys far from home have spawned a genre known as cantes de ida y vuelta, nostalgic immigrant songs given a flamenco accent. Enrique, a Spanish immigrant herself who founded her own company in 1982 shortly after moving to Canada, took a handful of these songs to create an original program of dance, song and live music called De Idas y Vueltas in recognition of its source material. A recipient of two Dora Mavor Moore Awards in addition to the inaugural Young Centre for the Performing Arts Dance Award issued in 2012, Enrique has a proven track record of producing arresting flamenco-inspired programs. But De Idas y Vueltas has to count as among her best. The three-performance run was sold-out, a rarity for a dance show of any scale in Toronto. The lure was Enrique’s reputation as a consummate professional who seeks to preserve the traditions of her cherished flamenco while at the same time offering something new.