Anyone who has seen a show presented by Jill Tunbridge’s Flamenco del Mar Spanish Dance Studio – or been one of her students – knows that Flamenco is a truly transcendent form.
Tunbridge asserts that it’s a type of artistic creativity, and receptivity that, while most closely associated with Spain and southern Europe, is capable of crossing all national and ethnic boundaries,
To be moved by the spirit of music and rhythm; to synthesize that emotion and express it through the physicality of dance – that, says Tunbridge, is the underlying feeling and motive of Flamenco. It also fits her own Pangaean sensibility that all authentic human culture comes, ultimately, from the same place; the human heart.
For more than a decade, it’s what the artistic director and choreographer has been demonstrating with shows bringing together dancers from Surrey, White Rock, Delta, Langley and Aldergrove. More than simply celebrating Spanish dance technique each event has also embraced forms as seemingly disparate as belly dance, tribal fusion, the blues and First Nations Pow-Wow dancing, the latter thanks to young studio member Zac Palomec’s emerging mastery of his own heritage.
Palomec will continue a Flamenco del Mar tradition by opening the studio’s upcoming Spring Performance/Mother’s Day show at Ocean Park Community Hall, this Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.
“Flamenco isn’t just dancing,” Tunbridge said, noting that Palomec will also add a display of martial arts to the program.
Attending this year’s Pow-Wow at Earl Marriott Secondary was just a further confirmation of common ground, she added.
“The rhythm is there and it’s so hypnotic,” she said. “I don’t think people fully understand what’s behind it. And it’s the same with Flamenco: there’s the same pulse.
“It starts with the tapping of the feet, and people draw nearer to the fire, to the spirit. That’s why everyone is so happy to be at Ocean Park Community Hall – the wooden floor makes it feel like home. Part of the dialogue between the dancers and the audience is missed when we’re in a theatre.”
There has to be a personal stake investment, Tunbridge said, and that’s why she’s also very happy on Mother’s Day weekend to be presenting a studio mother, Diana Perry, dancing to an original song that Tunbridge’s brother David wrote: Silver Street.
Naturally, traditional Spanish forms will also be showcased in the show, she said, as well as the improvisation and power of personality, that sparks Flamenco and keeps it eternally fresh.
“There are so many shades of Flamenco – there’s the raw and the wild, and also the technical traditional dances the students learn. The two kind of meet somewhere.
“Some dancers are counting in their heads while others are dancing with their soul.
Some dancers are completely perfect in every way, and others you want to cry just because of the way they walk across stage.”
Ocean Park Hall is located at 1577 128 St.
Tickets ($15, $12 seniors and students) are available at the door, or by calling 604-542-2096 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org