The Ballet Flamenco La Rosa Company Sees Dance as a Complete Art Form

Ilisa Rosal founded Ballet Flamenco La Rosa in 1985, and the company soon cultivated a renowned reputation for presenting flamenco, in all of its forms, to local, national, and international audiences. This weekend it will premiere La Gaviota, a flamenco ballet; and Al Grano!, a pure flamenco performance. The program showcases the talent of artists from Spain, Latin America, Russia, and the United States at the Colony Theatre in South Beach.

Flamenco performed at this level was rarely seen in Miami before Rosal established her company. The cultural landscape has exploded since the '80s, and Ballet Flamenco La Rosa has been at the forefront of this growth.

The dancer studied flamenco with some of the most distinguished artists and teachers in Spain. “I have a passion for flamenco, and for theater, which has only grown throughout the years,” Rosal says. Therefore, the company has long taken an innovative approach to the art form.

In the past, Rosal has presented narrative programs that link dance with drama inspired by works such as August Strindberg’s Miss Julie. La Gaviota is inspired by Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull and is one of three plays (Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard are the other two) Rosal considered for adaptation to the stage. She explains she based her choice on her love of the play and because “the image of the seagull is well suited to flamenco.”
Chekhov's play is set in the Russian countryside and is a dramatization of the conflicted relationships between the main characters. One of the challenges in presenting the play was “distilling it to the most important conflicts and characters,” the choreographer says. Another obstacle was logistics. Because La Gaviota is an international collaboration, “We created music by Skype,” Rosal explains.

Among the artists performing this weekend are Israel Heredia, a guitarist and composer from Sacromonte, Spain who hails from a long line of flamenco artists; Elroy Aguilar, a dancer and choreographer who has performed with major flamenco companies throughout the world; and Svetlana Savelyeva, who was born in Russia and is a dancer and choreographer. All three have their own style and artistic temperament.

Flamenco seems to draw in people of all ages and ethnicity. The dance form originated in Andalusia, Spain, and was later adapted by Christians and Jews. “Flamenco is multicultural – there are elements of different cultures,” Rosal says of its wide appeal. “It’s the rhythm in flamenco — the deep emotion in the guitar, music, and the dancer — that resonates with all people. It’s all very universal — a complete art form.”

— Diana Dunbar, artburstmiami.com

Ballet Flamenco La Rosa
Al Grano! 
8 p.m. Friday, May 20. La Gaviota. 8 p.m. Saturday, May 21, and 3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, at the Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $20 seniors and students. Visit balletflamencolarosa.com.

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