The Other Shore: An interview with Myriam Allard of Cie. La Otra Orilla

… on their upcoming production El 12

April 23-24 at 8pm

at the EnwaveTheatre

Regular Ticket: $28

Student/Senior/CADA/Arts Worker Ticket: $18

www.danceworks.ca or (416) 973-4000

Interview by Lucy Rupert

Lucy: What does “La Otra Orilla” mean to you? Where does the name come from?

Myriam: La Ota Orilla means “the other shore”. It can take as many meanings as one wants. But the idea came from the fact that we are living in Montreal and doing flamenco. Therefore, we are very far from Spain: an ocean divides us. That permits us to see things in a different light, from a distance. That distance gives us a certain liberty in our creative process and gives the company its signature style.

What inspired you and your group: collectively, personally or artistically about the concept of “12”?

Hedi had wanted to work on the concept for a long time. Flamenco’s most ancient “palos” (styles) are counted in 12 beats. When you start learning flamenco dance, singing or music, you quickly become obsessed with counting in 12, it becomes part of your daily life. When Hedi suggested the idea to me, we started researching about the number 12 itself and discovered many different meanings associated with it. Immediately, the rich relation between that number and our perception of time arose. It forced us to focus on the symbolic links between the number 12 and temporality; the passage of time and its modalities.

You are probably new to Toronto dance audiences; what would you like them to know about you and your company before you arrive?

I would like them to come with a very open mind! Our work is quite different than what one would expect when going to see a flamenco show: no polka dot dresses, no flowers in our hair … Our work is definitely flamenco – that’s all we know how to do! – but in El12 flamenco becomes a “means” that serves a theme: the passage of time. And we hope the audience will dive in to El12 with us!

How do you work with musicians and other collaborators during your creative process?

We have different stages. We start by talking about: the ideas, the atmosphere we want to create and the intentions of the piece. That first stage is basically the structuring of the different parts and aspects of the show. We then go into the studio together and try things out. Then discuss again, and so on. It is a balance between working on our own to develop ideas, and then working together to validate them and push them further or make different choices. Hedi and I feel very lucky to work with such great collaborators for El12.

What inspires you most to make your work?

The music. Flamenco singing and music is an endless source of inspiration to me.

What do you dream for La Otra Orilla in the future?

I would love to present our work in Spain! But above all, I hope La Otra Orilla lives a long and creative life, and that it will be a company that has audiences discovering the beauty and depth of flamenco.

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