It opened with a set of chairs cast in pool of red light. Having never been to a Flamenco performance myself, I watched with excitement and perhaps a little confusion too. A few guitar strings later, a cast of four ignited the stage with Spanish music and the fiercest flamenco dancing you can imagine.

Cadiz de la Frontera

The Vancouver Flamenco Festival celebrated its 25th anniversary with the spectacular Cadiz de la Frontera on September 19. On Saturday, I, your Super Sacha team member Deanna Cheng, was delightedly sitting up front, decidedly unprepared for what I was yet to experience. What I saw was a four man show of absolutely dedicated and undeniably talented musicians and dancers. Here are some of the highlights!

The story:

Lets just say ‘wow, what a show’! Cadiz de la Frontera is performed by two dancers. In this duet of dancing, one dancer embodies the conservative inland city of Jerez while the other, Cadiz, a seaport open to cultural interchange. This means lots of colour and plenty of rhythm. You just have to watch the movement of their bodies to learn the story.

The stars:

And who better to portray these characters then Spain’s award-winning Andrés Peña and the flamenco star Pilar Ogalla of Cadiz. Andrés showcased an immense amount of energy alongside Pilar who was equally as passionate in her dancing. Together, they had incredible chemistry. It was sensual, it was powerful, it was absolutely breathtaking. You could even hear gasps from the crowd.

 Cadiz de la Frontera III

The music:

Of course I can’t forget the music, sung by Inma Rivero and accompanied on guitar by Juan Campallo. The quick plucking of the guitar and the emotional welling of Inma’s voice was truly hypnotizing. It had the effect of being transcended into another world. Needless to say, it was a night filled with some of the most passionate dancing I have ever seen. With no previous experience in any kind of dance performance, I was immediately taken by the energy of the dancing and the energy of the audience, one of a kind I’m telling you!

The audience:

The audience, on many occasions, broke out into applause and shouted “ole” to the dancers. I later found out that “ole” is shouted to encourage the dancers. It was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Instead of waiting until the end of performance to applaud (although there was a lot of that too), the audience broke out into applause at any moment they felt it was appropriate to do so. After a difficult sequence? Clap! Nonstop synchronized steps? OLÉ! It added fuel to the fire raging on stage.

Of course, the Festival is still running! Fast-Forward Rewind is playing in the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island Saturday the 26th at 8 pm! I guarantee it will be a night full of excitement. If you were wondering what to do this weekend I would get right into the Vancouver Flamenco Festival’s final performances at!


Deanna Cheng authored this blog post. Deanne is a team member of Super Sacha, loves the arts, culture and has an interest in International Relations.

Photo credits goes to Tim Matheson