Write because you want to, not because you have to.
A show with a colourful explosion of different cultures, Ida Y Vuelta (translation: There and Back) by the Alma Flamenca Performance Company is one that you do not want to miss.
Collaborating a variety of styles to present an "emotive Andalusian art of live Flamenco music", audience members will be treated to a bit of everything.
I was fortunate to score an e-interview with Director and Flamenco dancer Roshanne Wijeyeratne, where we talked about how this show went from being a concept to a reality, along with its involvement with the upcoming Adelaide Fringe season - have a read of our exchange below:
Tema: Who are the faces behind Ida Y Vuelta? Roshanne: Ida y Vuelta is an artistic collaboration on an international scale. In order for the show to be developed from concept to presentation, I specifically wanted to cast artists for the major roles, who were from the cultures being explored. This was necessary for the exchange of cultural knowledge and for collaboration to be authentic, educational and personally meaningful.
Although the conceptual idea has been developed by myself, there is a full Adelaide company of very hard working musicians and dancers behind the production that brings it to life. Dancers Adriana Morales, Lisa Vertue, Natalie Quici, Anita Zazzaro, and Sugika Nishiue with musicians Adrian van Nunen and Alain Valodze exhibit the diverse skills and emotional interpretation that Flamenco embodies.
The international and interstate special guests are specifically chosen because their stories of migration connect to the migration and travel stories that have shaped Flamenco. That is what makes the show so unique. Jay's contribution with his tabla and Indian musical knowledge draws clear ancestry to Flamenco's ancestral Indian roots. Through collaboration, we see how clearly and seamlessly these ties can be drawn in the music and dance.
Similarly, Chachy Peñalver and Zoe Vélez explore the way South American music has more recently shaped and changed Flamenco.
Having Paco Lara at the helm of this musical ensemble provides an authentic and pure Flamenco sound from the South of Spain that truly is world class.
Tema: How did you come up with the concept of the show? Roshanne: My dedication and connection to Flamenco goes a lot further than just loving dance, Flamenco and Spanish culture. Flamenco inspires a stronger connection to my Sri Lankan heritage through its shapes, body movements and rhythmic intricacies. Before learning Flamenco, I studied Kandyan and Bharatanatyam dance forms and the parallels were evident from my first encounter with Flamenco. So, there has always been a desire to further explore subcontinental history in Flamenco art.
This exploration led me to find more recent influences from the Latin American persuasions. Although Flamenco is Spanish and born in Andalucia, there are so many influences that have shaped its development… and it continues to develop.
Tema: What is the basic premise of your show (without giving too much away)? Roshanne: An international Flamenco collaboration that explores the mosaic of cultural connections in Flamenco, from subcontinental roots to Latin America influences.
Tema: What made you handpick the individuals who are involved in your show? What made you choose the collaboration of artists that you have, as the cast of Ida Y Vuelta? Roshanne: Of course their individual stories were an integral part of this cultural exploration of Flamenco history, but I also picked them for the magic. They are incredibly skilled in their respective fields and have that X Factor that goes beyond technical brilliance. For myself, Flamenco transcends just sound and movement. It goes to an emotive place; deep in the soul. This is one of the reasons why I called my company (and school) "Alma Flamenca"… The best energy and magic is when artists have great connection, chemistry and trust. This is what Ida y Vuelta has.
Tema: What are you hoping for your audience members to experience by attending your show? Roshanne: Primarily to be moved. The audience can move with journey from country to country and through it, feel the many different shades of emotion that Flamenco offers. It is passionate and deep. The hope is that the synergy of Rhythmic connections is transferred to something visceral within the audience and that they walk away feeling that they have been a part of something special. I have always said, "If I can be a channel for people to feel 1/10th of what Flamenco makes me feel, then they have felt something deep, unforgettable, worthwhile, exhilarating and addictive!"
Tema: What do you think will help your show stand out from other similarly-themed shows? Roshanne: The music in Ida y Vuelta is not only Flamenco-based, which gives this show a global focus, rather than only viewing a Flamenco show. Exploring Indian and South American music and history in the Flamenco show is a unique concept.
It is also exceptional that members of the cast like Paco, Chachy, Jay, and myself reside in Australia and are artists, who have received international recognition for our works.
Each special guest has been especially picked because of their personal heritage and ties to the cultures the show is exploring.
Tema: Why did you decide to only have 3 shows in Adelaide? Roshanne: It is my first time at Adelaide Fringe and being the sole producer, I thought I would start with a shorter run to gain experience!
Tema: How did you get involved with the Adelaide Fringe (AF)? Roshanne: I have been invited several times to be a part of Adelaide Fringe. Since then, I have wanted to produce my own show but was waiting for something special that was not just a traditional flamenco show format. Something a little more 'Fringey'.
Tema: How long have you been a part of the AF family? Roshanne: I have been in shows as a guest dancer sporadically over the last decade, but this is my first foray into producing an Adelaide Fringe show.
Tema: How have you found the journey of being involved with AF so far? Roshanne: Incredible, daunting, exciting, demanding, educational… Well worth it! The AF family have been extremely supportive and I have gained so much experience and met incredible artists along the way that I would never have met, without being a part of this Fringe.
Tema: How did you score the venue Nexus Arts? What attracted you to it? Roshanne: Nexus Arts has been a long-standing supporter of Flamenco and uniquely has a great floor for the footwork rhythms that are so important to Flamenco. Flamenco is traditionally enjoyed in bars and tablaos, so a cabaret setting like Nexus Arts offers an intimate cabaret experience that works well with Flamenco.
Tema: Is there anything else that you'd like your audience / our readers to know about the show? Roshanne: Ida y Vuelta is only on for 3 shows in the first weekend of the Fringe - Feb 16 and 17 - so please don't miss this show and they'll be happy to kick off your Fringe month of madness with this heart-pounding and passionate Flamenco-based, world music and dance production.
Ida Y Vuelta (There and Back) will be performing at Nexus Arts on two nights only, as part of Adelaide Fringe.