Dancer Lesley Daly and guitarist Michael Daly to perform Flamenco at FOTA on October 24 and 25th!
An Interview with Lesley Daly
Q: What makes the thought of performing at the Festival of the Arts in SOTH’s 20th anniversary year an interesting one for you?
A: Michael and I moved to Cobourg six years ago. It’s a privilege to be included with such a talented group of artists in Northumberland County. A good stage, an intimate setting, an audience of arts enthusiasts. I hope they enjoy our ‘arte flamenco’.
Good Flamenco can tap into deep emotions. I hope we will draw you in! I hope the audience will enjoy our show and experience the beauty and power of Flamenco.
Q: Why Flamenco? And what makes it special to you?
A: I had always loved Flamenco from my childhood trips to Spain for summer holidays. After Michael and I got married we lived in Spain for three years and developed a love of all things Spanish.
The Don Quijote, a restaurant and “tablao” on College St. at Spadina featured top Flamenco performers: Manolete, La Tati, Concha Vargas, Pepe Habichuela, to name a few. For the price of a glass of wine, one could witness their art. We fell in love with the music, dance and poetry of their songs and went as often as we could.
We studied Flamenco with these artists and got to know them. As they were living in a new country where they didn’t speak the language, we were able to help them: showing them around, taking them to Niagara Falls, …to the dentist even!Later when we returned to Spain they reciprocated more than we could have imagined. We were treated like old friends and accepted into their circle. Flamenco is a way of life and we were part of it.
Q:How did you come to perform together?
A: Michael had studied guitar in Spain, then he learned from the performers at the Don Quijote. In addition to studying with the dancers from Spain I took classes with Paula Moreno, Claudia Carolina and Esmeralda Enrique who had studios in Toronto. In these studios Michael learned to accompany dance and played for the shows.
I was soon performing professionally with Esmeralda Enrique and other dance companies (Theatre Flamenco, Arte Flamenco). Gradually Michael and I started to perform together.
Q: What are your most memorable performances and where did they take place?
A: My most significant experience was working in Spain with Mariano Torres, which really launched my Flamenco dance career.
The best learning experience and the most fun was working at the Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, Florida with the renowned Repompa de Málaga. Michael played second guitar to her husband Luis Herredia. We met many other artists through them and so learned a lot more about the social side of Flamenco life.
Performing outdoors at Canada’s Wonderland with my troupe “Viva Granada” was also a very special time.
Perhaps I should add my most nerve-wracking off stage performance, in Ecija, Andalucía! We were with Concha Vargas, Martín el Revuelo, and others before the show began. Concha bade me get up and dance an impromptu “bulerías” to prove that we were “artistas” worthy of being there!! A rite of passage indeed!
Q: How do you feel when you are performing for an audience?
A: Generally I am full of joy. Every show is different. We usually perform light-hearted pieces such as “alegrías” or “rumba” for entertainment at festivals and weddings. But Flamenco has different levels. “Cante Jondo” (Deep Song”) is sorrowful. Dancing to “seguirilla” or “soleá” one can express emotions of anguish or loss. Another form, “Bulerías” is strenuous, demanding, a way to challenge, show off or joke around.
Q: Do audience members ever get up and dance or shout when you are performing?
A: Certainly at “juergas” (flamenco parties) or informal gatherings. Sometimes at our shows, depending on circumstances. If the time seems right I may encourage audience participation.