Antonio Canales is a huge deal in the world of flamenco. As one of Spain’s premier choreographers, dancers and teachers of the genre, his influence is far-reaching, leaving a lasting impression on Siudy Garrido, a young Venezuelan flamenco dancer who performed with Canales’ company in Spain. Garrido now shines on her own, starring in her production “Siudy Between Worlds,” a flamenco fusion show that had a run in Miami in 2012 and returns this weekend with a few tweaks. As an added bonus for Miami audiences, Canales, who amazed last February as part of Festival Flamenco, will join the cast of the show in Miami. Miami.com chatted with Canales before the show.
Siudy Garrido was once part of your own dance company. How does it feel to be working with her in a different capacity?
I am very exited about this possibility because ever since I saw Siudy in her younger years, she had marvelous potential, and now I am being invited to play in her own show “Between Worlds,” which makes me very proud. It’s obviously a challenge, our encounter will be a great explosion of art.
Does she have a similar style as you when it comes to directing and instructing her dancers?
Siudy has grown very much. In fact, these kinds of shows inhabit many dance styles, but she has always shown a unique signature style that’s very much her own. Her style of dance has evolved to a level that makes her one of the top dance exponents of flamenco.
Flamenco is a dance that is deeply rooted in its traditions. Do these flamenco fusion projects like “Between Worlds” get criticism from purists?
When someone crosses the line away from what is classical or traditional, it is only natural that purists will find it strange, but without risk there is no evolution. However, even if it is “fusion,” this show comes from the purest form of flamenco. Evolution is always a good thing.
In “Between Worlds” you play the sort of patriarch of the flamenco dancers, who have a rivalry with the urban dancers. Where do you see these two worlds intersecting: the traditional flamenco and the more rebellious hip-hop?
Art always finds a point of unity, it doesn’t matter that hip-hop and Flamenco are such different styles. For instance, the rhythms of tango blends well a hip-hop base. Art should always be allowed to unite, always. A gypsy from Seville has so much more in common with a rapper from Harlem than most people think. There is something inside of them, an instinct that makes them alike.
How does “Between Worlds” compare with the kinds of works you have created, like “Bailaor,” “Gitano” and “Torero”?
It’s similar, when I presented “Torero,” I brought musical elements to flamenco that no one had ever attempted. I used violins, bass, wind instruments and percussion. In the beginning people had a problem coming to terms with it and even flamencos couldn’t understand it. Now 22 years later, all flamenco companies all over the world emulate it. My dear Siudy, with “Between Worlds,” could ignite something very similar. I really hope so, because Flamenco is lacking people who dare to transgress and break the mold of what is conventional.
Are you, as a person involved also in the teaching of flamenco, seeing flamenco spread further into areas where there isn’t as much Hispanic influence as well?
Of course, I love to teach. For instance, Japan is like my second country. I live there four months out of the year and they know nothing about Hispanic traditions. But it’s about people who love flamenco, and furthermore, who respect artists and a master or a teacher. I am so thankful to the people in Nipon for their kindness they always give me.