“Flamenco Festival spices up downtown” – Aug 17 2014

CHEK-TV came to the festival! "Colour and passion made for a romantic cocktail in Victoria’s Centennial Square this weekend. Flamenco music and dancing filled the air for the city’s Flamenco Festival."

CHEK-TV came to the festival and filmed some of the dancing and guitar playing. They posted this video on Aug 17, 2014: http://www.cheknews.ca/flamenco-festival-spices-up-downtown/

Veronica Maguire’s finale performance at the Victoria Flamenco Festival will be about more than closing the show.

La Reunión, as the free show is called, will bring together some of her former students and current leaders in the local flamenco community, as well as old friends.

“The last show is going to be very special for me because I have a dancer coming from Toronto, Carmen Romero, who I’ve known for a very long time,” Maguire said.

“The last time we actually performed together was 25 years ago, hence the name, La Reunión.”

Maguire and Romero met outside of Toronto at Canada’s Wonderland, where they danced together as part of the amusement park’s entertainment corps.

Maguire, who launched Victoria dance school Alma de España in 1991, has spent plenty of time reflecting on the past recently. After losing her husband, Harry Owen, in 2010, she was forced to recalibrate. Owen, who played flamenco guitar, was her partner in both life and art.

“We shared the same philosophy, and everywhere we went, we were always together,” Maguire said.

“It’s been a learning curve for me. The last three years were quite intense. I basically had to reinvent myself and retrain,” Maguire said.

Among her efforts, Maguire travelled to Spain to learn more and welcomed her son Gareth Owen, who has matured as a flamenco guitarist, to accompany her works.

A turning point came last summer when she presented Pasajes — a piece inspired by her loss — at the Royal Theatre.

“I was so relieved to complete that project, because it meant now I can move on.”

But Maguire still looks back fondly on the way they worked together to bring flamenco culture to Vancouver Island. She attributes its growth to a general openness and commitment to try new things.

“When my husband and I first moved here, we found that people, when they got hooked on to something, they really took it seriously and they really made it important in their lives,” she said.

“Flamenco is just flourishing all over the Island.”

The Victoria Flamenco Festival is a strong example of that, she said.

La Reunión, set for 5:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Centennial Square, is just one of many performances scheduled throughout the week featuring local and regional dancers, guitarists and singers. The second annual festival kicked off in Centennial Square on Monday with Toronto-based Ventanas, a band that fuses Balkan, Turkish Sephardic and flamenco music.

While the festival continues with free events in Centennial Square all week, a new addition this year are the ticketed evening shows at downtown venues.

“We felt that last year was an incredible success,” said festival organizer Jan Bate. “But we wanted to expand and inlude some evening performances and also some workshops.”

The most highly anticipated show will be Encuentro Flamenco, featuring Fiona Malena, Thursday at Hermann’s Jazz Club, Bate said. Other highlights include Flamenco Tablao tonight at Cenote (featuring Gareth Owen, Carolyn Crampton, Gwyneth McIntosh, Juanita Bate and Denise Yeo); Monique Salez Compania Flamenca’s La Luz in the Atrium; and Mozaico Flamenco on Saturday in Centennial Square at 5:15 p.m.

Bate said flamenco is continuing to grow as an art form on Vancouver Island, pointing to the existence of two dance schools in Victoria, as well as groups from Nanaimo, Courtenay and Tofino arriving for the festival.

The festival offers local flamenco dancers and musicians a venue to perform alongside artists from other parts of the country.

Bate, who started singing flamenco in Tofino in the 1990s, said she hopes the festival entices a few audience members to try out the form.

“I hope they are inspired, that they are wonderfully entertained and that they have a growing appreciation of the flamenco art form,” Bate said.

– See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/entertainment/flamenco-flourishes-with-an-island-beat-1.1308763#sthash.Sp6dXuOm.dpuf