Bringing a contemporary vision to an ancient Spanish art form is no small task, but internationally acclaimed dancer/choreographer Siudy Garrido manages to swirl traditional and ultramodern techniques into a brand of flamenco that’s entirely her own. The artistic vision of Siudy Garrido Flamenco Company’s Flamenco Intimo takes the stage on Saturday, June 4, at the Lobero Theatre.
We caught up with Garrido while she was in tech rehearsals in her birthplace, Caracas, Venezuela. Now headquartered in Miami, her company travels the world, exciting audiences with a unique blend of this vibrant art from.
Flamenco is in your blood, and your mother was very accomplished with an academy of her own.What are the distinctions between traditional flamenco and your contemporary, cutting-edge interpretation that brings in other styles of dance and music? I first studied traditional flamenco at my mother’s academy but had an early taste of stage work when Joaquín Cortés invited me back to Caracas to dance a bulería in a 2,000-seat venue. When I was 17, superstar Antonio Canales’s company had me audition to substitute for the principal lead female in Bernarda de Alba (the lead was sick). I had to learn the whole show and rehearse in a day and perform the next day, again, at a 2,000-seat venue. Mr. Canales wanted to take me on tour, but my family didn’t allow it.
My mother dedicated her life to teaching, but my call was to work on the stage. I founded a professional dance company when I was 19. This is where my inspiration to move forward with my search for a different take on flamenco aesthetics came.
Canales was a visionary and soon I learned that I had a different tradition in my own growth. With different influences, since I grew up in America and not in Spain. My footwork became essential, and I was dedicated to learning with top masters in Madrid and Seville. I also learned overall techniques and styles.
To be honest, I love traditional flamenco music and styles (palos) of flamenco. But in dance, my approach to my work is incorporating my contemporary dance study, enhancing traditional flamenco dance lines.
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Your costumes are also not traditional. I design costumes with contemporary influences of my own cultural reality, including pop and fashion influences. For instance, I love Tim Burton’s ideas, and they inspired my costumes for Falla & Flamenco with Gustavo Dudamel in 2015, with those timeless ideas in some of his costumes designed by Colleen Atwood. You will see me dancing very traditional flamenco moves but in very non-traditional costumes.
What about music? I incorporate fragments of music like the jazz standard “Take 5” taken to bulerías or Salsa Pasajes taken to alegrías, but I keep the music centered in the flamenco codes and rules.
What can guests expect to see with Flamenco Intimo? Flamenco Intimo is part of our expression from these two years of uncertainty. Even though it’s a repertoire show and was created in 2015, I changed it quite a bit to allow a sensible commentary of humanity — opening with a piece that represents us coming out of isolation into the joy of life.
We will perform a guajira, which is a style of flamenco with a Cuban influence. Seguirilla and alegrías in choreography with our beautiful ballet performing with Spanish shawls, and music solos by our great musicians, including Juan Parrilla on the flute (Joaquín Cortés composer) and José Luis de la Paz on guitar (Cristina Hoyos composer).
And I will perform my dearest Soleá por Bulería, which is my favorite flamenco style where I do my solos. We hope the audience can enjoy our work and that we can bring joy here, too.
See tinyurl.com/flamencointimotrailer for a preview of the performance.