Spanish flamenco dancers to sizzle as they fire up the stage at Tractorgrease

Based in Spain, Fin de Fiesta Flamenco comprises mostly Canadian members

With a swizzle, click, and slide, the Fin de Fiesta Flamenco dance troupe will light up the stage at Tractorgrease when they present SALVAJE, their latest, untamed production that explores the wild side of one of the world’s most passionate art forms: flamenco.

Originating in the 18th century, flamenco is based on the folkloric music traditions of a handful of communities in southern Spain, and includes singing, guitar playing, dancing, clapping, and finger snapping.

“Flamenco wasn’t born in a theatre, it was born in the streets. It was the music and dance of the people,” said Lia Grainger, who not only dances in the production, but is also the artistic director.

“In many ways it still is (in Spain). With SALVAJE, we hope to bring some of that jubilant, untamed spirit back to Canada.”

READ MORE: Flamenco song, music, and dance comes to Harrison

Originally from B.C., Grainger left behind a journalism career in Toronto to pursue flamenco full-time in Madrid’s hallowed Amour de Dios Academy.

“I now divide my time between Canada and Madrid, Spain, where I study dance about four hours a day with some of the world’s most celebrated flamenco dancers,” wrote Grainger in an email.

But in the world of flamenco, Grainger says this isn’t uncommon.

“Spain’s metropolitan centres today are populated by almost as many flamenco students as tourists. There are dancers and guitarists young and old from around the world … that have chosen to give up everything to move to Spain and commit themselves full-time to the study of a completely foreign art form.

“There really is nothing comparable to the bizarre, concentrated little world of obsessive aficionados that exists today in cities like Seville and Madrid. Flamenco was always a part of a crazy subculture populated by gypsies and street musicians, and now it’s been infiltrated by random, passionate artists and wannabes from around the world.”

And with members from the Lower Mainland, Cuba, and France, Fin de Fiesta is the epitome of flamenco’s international mosaic.

READ MORE: Take a trip to Spain with the Chilliwack Metropolitan

Although flamenco in Spain draws from many cultural and historical influences, the members of Fin de Fiesta are often most drawn to the raw and improvisational “gitano” style that emerged 200 years ago from the gypsy culture of southern Spain.

“There are so many different styles of flamenco today,” explained Grainger. “Many of the world’s top flamenco dancers are creating work that resembles contemporary or modern dance in many ways, (but) we’re going in the opposite direction(with this show): back to the traditional, wild, emotive roots of flamenco.”

Founded in 2012, Fin de Fiesta is travelling across Canada performing SALVAJE at more than 40 venues from Jul. 19 to Sept. 15 , and slides into Chilliwack on Thursday, Aug. 2.

The show starts at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6, and tickets are available for $20 through Eventbrite, or by calling 604-858-3814.

For information about Fin de Fiesta, visit FindeFiestaflamenco.com.

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