Victor Kolstee is originally from The Hague in The Netherlands and Rosario Ancer from Monterrey, Mexico.
How long have been Vancouverites?
25 years – after living and performing in Spain and Mexico, we settled in Vancouver.
Rosario Ancer is a Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director and Victor Kolstee is a Guitarist and Musical Director, both with Flamenco Rosario and the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival. They also teach dance and guitar and are the owners of Centro Flamenco.
When Flamenco Rosario and Rosario Ancer Centro Flamenco were both founded in 1989, what was happening on the dance and performing arts scene in Vancouver?
There was no formal flamenco training available in Vancouver at that time, so we co-founded Centro Flamenco (the first flamenco school in Western Canada) with a structured approach to teaching dance, guitar and song and how these elements interact. Soon after, the professional companies Flamenco Rosario and the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival were born, which enabled us to create striking original works – some of which have traveled internationally and won awards for choreography. We also collaborate with a range of international artists and arts organizations.
The format of the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival is unique to Canada in that it creates a bridge between East and West and offers a platform where local, national and international flamenco artists can share their talents with Vancouverites. These efforts have also launched the professional careers of many young and aspiring Canadian artists. This festival has grown to a full week of performances, workshops, conferences and community events. The festival consistently features guest artists of the highest caliber from all over Spain.
Are prospective students able to join at any level, and how do the learning methods come into play?
For the aficionado, Centro Flamenco offers classes from basic introduction to advanced classes and everything in between. For the aspiring professional, Flamenco Rosario offers a Professional Training Program, which offers placements by audition only.
For people who are passionate about flamenco, are there any local events that are available to the public?
The upcoming Vancouver International Flamenco Festival is an excellent place to engage with the local community. The festival runs from October 29 – November 9, 2014 with in-studio performances at the Centro Flamenco, along with events at the Chai Lounge and Kino Cafe Flamenco Tapas Bar. Advance tickets can be purchased on the website here.
Flamenco has become increasingly popular in Vancouver, so there are quite a few flamenco performances in other venues as well. Check the Centro Flamenco website regularly for upcoming events. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter.
What do you see on the horizon for flamenco dance and performance in the city of Vancouver?
We did not have to wait very long to witness the results of the seeds that we have planted in the city. There is currently a vibrant flamenco movement in Vancouver, with a growing roster of flamenco schools, dance companies and performance groups. There are also more venues offering flamenco, and other festivals are now including flamenco in their programming.
As our 25th anniversary approaches, we have begun preparations for a year of celebration which will culminate with the 2015 Flamenco Festival. Looking back on the work that we have done so far, we feel so privileged and proud. With this upcoming milestone, we feel the same excitement that we felt 25 years ago about the immense possibilities for the future. Viva Flamenco!
Words ©Ehren Seeland