Skip to main content

Flamenco En Rouge!

The passion of Spain’s native dance takes center stage this Saturday night as Flamenco En Rouge brings the heat to the Company House in Halifax. Recently we spoke with Martine Durier-Copp of the troupe about what audiences can expect.

What got you into Flamenco?
There is a universal nature to flamenco, akin to the blues. It speaks of human experiences and emotions in a way that cuts across national boundaries and language. I first saw flamenco in Spain in my late teens, and it left me speechless. The raw emotionality, the drama, the expressiveness resonated in a way that no other art form had. My continued, frequent travels to Spain have only intensified that passion. And, as you may know, Flamenco was declared a Universal World Heritage by UNESCO, underlying its universal appeal!

Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Totally, but with life’s experience, with time and maturity, one can further understand some of the pathos and more tragic elements of flamenco jondo (deep) in a way that perhaps eluded one in the past…

What are the challenges involved?
It is a highly complex and demanding art form, which is very demanding on body, mind, and emotion. It needs to be learned directly from teachers in Spain. Flamenco is transmitted through an oral tradition, and therefore is not “codified” in textbooks or manuals. The only way to truly learn and understand is to study in Spain. There are so many “traditions’ related to how apalo (form) is danced, sung or played on guitar. Each major city in Andalucia has its own style and nuances.  A major component is improvisation, but improvisation within established and traditional structures! Again, taught through oral tradition! For a dancer (bailaora), flamenco is demanding in terms of zapateado (rhythmic footwork), with respect to body positioning which is very different from other dance forms, and in terms of the emotionality which must be conveyed. The entire body dances, while supported by complex and technically demanding rhythmic patterns which are produced by the footwork. The baile must convey what is sung in the letras (words). Most importantly, it needs to draw from that great font of history, tradition, collective memory and convey those to audiences in a way that is alive, inspiring, and authentic. For me, flamenco is a deeply spiritual experience.

What are the rewards?
Beyond words! Flamenco nourishes the soul in a way that is difficult to describe. One attains a state of “universality” with the emotions and feelings, words, and music conveyed in a way that must be experienced. Audiences feel it. At the end of a performance, they will be moved and if those emotions have been effectively communicated, there is a “communion” of the spirit.

When did the troupe come together?
Some of us have been together for over ten years!! Interestingly, our guest artist, Irena Dumicz and I go back to over a decade, and then life ‘s circumstances took us to different parts of the country. That is why our October 3rd show is call Flamenco reunion (Reencuentro flamenco). Flamenco en Rouge was born over two years ago, with a shared common vision of musicians and dancers to communicate authentic, traditional flamenco in a way that keeps this art form alive.

What can audiences expect this Saturday night?
Audiences can expect a vibrant, dynamic and colourful show that will showcase the range of flamenco forms – from deeply sorrowful, to playful, to joyful…Irena Dumicz, who has studied flamenco cante and baile in Spain, will be our guest artist, and will perform a beautiful Bolero, a Farruca, and will, of course, accompany the dancers in several pieces.

Is enough being done to promote Flamenco here in Halifax and Atlantic Canada?
There are several schools and students of flamenco here in Nova Scotia. I would like to see more grants available for dancers, singers and musicians to study in Spain. Irena had a Canada Council grant to study in Sevilla for over 6 months. I train annually in Jerez de la Frontera and Algeciras for a month. More funding support for artists would be welcome.

What's next on the troupe's agenda?
We are developing new choreographies, and have quite a busy winter, with several performances lined up….we are always moving on to our next project!! 

Flamenco En Rouge
Saturday, October 3, 8pm
The Company House, Halifax

Photo Credit; Anne Launcelott

Popular posts from this blog

Charles Hsuen

Even after almost 30 years as the voice of jazz in Halifax, Charles Hsuen shows no signs of slowing down. His passion to preserve and promote the genre to listeners of all ages cannot be overstated. Recently we spoke with Hsuen about his roots, and his life-long love of big band, bebop, swing, Sinatra and more.
What are your own roots? My roots derive from a rather mixed background. My father is of Vietnamese / Tibetan / Chinese heredity, but grew up in India, before immigrating to Canada in 1967. While my mother’s roots stem from Indo-China, she grew up in Brunei before immigrating to Canada in 1969. Both extended families ultimately settled in Toronto and my parents met and married in the early 1970's. The last name “Hsuen” (now XUAN), pronounced “Schwen,” comes from the Last Emperor of China Henry Pu Yi who ruled using the name Xuantong from 1909 until his forced abdication in 1912. The story was of a tumultuous reign, his forced resignation and eventual attempt to reclaim his ti…

Danny Bilsborough

Danny Bilsborough, NSCC alumna and owner of Danny B Studios, has spent most of her days consulting various clients on software options for their new business endeavours. 
Although she’s been involved with assessing some really exciting projects, nothing makes her happier than grabbing her brush and splashing colour on a canvas. That’s why she’s decided to take the plunge into becoming a full-time artist.
“I was always so scared to try using colour, but when my daughter was born and the opportunity came to incorporate these new palettes into her life, they quickly found their way into mine,” she says.
Colour brings light to many things and gives people a sense of enjoyment. Markus Maier explained in his academic journal titled Color Psychology that colour carries great meaning and can have an important impact on people's affect, cognition and behaviour.
Bilsborough’s favourite pieces to create are those of nature and animals – a quick look at her online Etsy page confirms this. She be…


Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the passing of Elvis Presley, International World-Champion Elvis tribute artist, Thane Dunn and his Cadillac Kings, will perform seven shows throughout the Maritimes over the coming months. Recently we spoke with the King of Kings about his passion and profession.
What are your roots? I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick. I've lived everywhere from California to Toronto but Moncton always has had a special place in my heart. My musical roots have always been early Rock and Roll and also old Country and Western like Buck Owens and Stonewall Jackson. I’ve always been a huge Jim Morrison fan. He had a lot of similar traits to Elvis.
What first inspired the Elvis tribute? I always loved the man and I’ve had people tell me I looked like him and in early bands I was in people would say I sounded like him. I had a few months leading up to the decision to do it where it seemed every time I turned on the TV there was Elvis, the radio would be playing Elvis…