La Otra Orilla: Myriam Allard in Flamenco Fantasies

Sunday, January 18, 2015, 7:30 pm
University of Ottawa, Academic Hall, 135 Séraphin-Marion (West side entrance only)

After several years of training in Seville and Madrid with the masters Manolo Marin and Ciro, Myriam Allard studied with such artists as Andrés Marin, Rafaela Carrasco and Israel Galvan, whose company she joined in 2002. Myriam began dancing professionally at the traditional tablaos flamencos in Spain, Japan, France and Germany. Drawing strength from her rigorous European training and extensive professional experience, Myriam Allard’s dance breaks free of the traditional esthetic boundaries to develop an idiom that combines the instinctive and the impulsive with great sensitivity and refinement. She returned to Quebec in 2005, where she founded the La Otra Orilla company with singer and director Hedi Graja.

Q&A with Myriam Allard

1. How and when did you discover flamenco, and why was it life altering for you?

Discovering flamenco changed my life completely. It was clear to me very quickly that dancing flamenco was what I needed to pursue. It was life altering in many ways, one of which was that I moved to Spain—far from family, friends and everything I knew—where I lived for 6 years to train and then to work dancing flamenco.

2. You were trained in flamenco by Spanish masters Manolo Marin and Ciro. Can you speak to some of your most memorable experiences from that time?

I had many different teachers, but I can say that Manolo Marin and Ciro were somehow from another era. They really represent a traditional school of flamenco and their teaching gave me the base from which I still work today.

3. In your choreography, how do you conflate the form of traditional flamenco with your own dance vocabulary? Where do flamenco and Myriam meet, or are they one and the same?

In a traditional format such as tablao, the job of every flamenco dancer/artist is to make a personal interpretation of the form. I just take that a little further in my work within La Otra Orilla in the sense that I do not give myself limits. In fact the opposite, I try to push boundaries as much as possible. The only thing that I always stay true to is what I feel. Sincerity is my limit.

4. You founded La Otra Orilla company with singer and director Hedi Graja. What draws you together as artists?

Works by La Otra Orilla are recognizable for their unique and radical approach to flamenco, reflecting an absolutely trans-disciplinary vision. Based on the collaboration between myself as dancer and choreographer and singer-director Hedi Graja, our company embodies and celebrates the timeless and universal appeal of flamenco. As artistic directors, we rely on our in-depth knowledge for the nuances and modes of this art, acquired over many years spent in Andalusia, to suggest a hybrid flamenco language that is modern and poetic; that explores the traditions of this art form, all the while being firmly rooted in the present.