Caravan World Rhythms presents the North American premiere of La Caramelita Flamenco Company in “Nritya” – a Voyage of Rhythm, Music and Dance from India to Spain.
The company includes performers from Spain, France and Canada, including dancer/artistic director Deborah “La Caramelita”, Alejandro Mendía on vocals, Guillermo Guillén on guitar, Alex Carrasco on percussion and Lara Wong on flute and bansuri.
As a first generation Canadian, born to Malaysian parents of South Indian descent, Deborah “La Caramelita” Dawson-Mouroca has enchanted international audiences for over 10 years with her unique style of dance. Her new show “Nritya” tells Deborah’s story through dance, a story of an immigrant family and an artist connecting with an art form that seems totally foreign, but one that she is historically linked with. Deborah believes that cross-cultural music and dance can bring people together in unexpected ways and connect them to their ancestral roots.
At 14, she was drawn to the fiery, “gypsy” energy of flamenco, only later discovering that flamenco’s roots could be traced to the Romani people from India who settled in Spain. NRITYA refers to “storytelling” and “emotions created by movement” in Sanskrit while the literal Hindi translation is “dance.” Taking inspiration from the sensuality in flamenco, Latin passion and her Indian heritage, Dawson-Mourocq explores a journey in search of her origins. At the same time, she reconstructs bridges that disappeared between flamenco and Indian dance years ago.The result is a flamenco show unlike anything experienced before. Familiar Indian songs are intermingled with traditional flamenco rhythms. In one section, the traditional Indian chant (Konnakol) matches the percussive staccato of flamenco footwork.
“This is not a traditional flamenco show. We’ve created a new language – a new algorithm – mixing various Indian influences with flamenco,” explains singer Alejandro Mendía. Dawson-Mourocq began with a structure of three flamenco styles: tarantos, martinete and alegrías. Award-winning flamenco guitarist Guillermo Guillén, percussionist Alex Carrasco and flautist Lara Wong composed original music and rhythms, using their own interpretations of the historical Indian and flamenco art forms. Mendía’s verses speak of distance, travel, the connectedness of music across cultures, and how being apart can bring you closer together.
About La Caramelita Flamenco Company
The versatility of Deborah Dawson– Mourocq (“La Caramelita”) and La Caramelita Flamenco Company has taken them worldwide, performing in Ecuador, Portugal, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Morocco, France and Switzerland. The Company introduced new audiences to flamenco at the 2016 Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver folk festivals where their shows reached over 15 000 spectators. La Caramelita performed at the Rolex Trophy in Geneva, Pacha Uchuk in Ecuador, the Western Canadian tour of Mis Hermanas, at international flamenco festivals in Europe and North America, and is the winner of the 2009 Isadora Award for Excellence in Choreography. Dawson and her husband, flamenco singer Alejandro Mendía, are from Bordeaux, France. Together, with a group of award-winning musicians from France and Spain, they are creating a new language and artistic expression joining various Indian influences with flamenco.
Performers include La Caramelita; Alejandro Mendía (singer); award-winning guitarist Guillermo Guillén (Lámpara Minera Award); multi-instrumentalist Alex Carrasco (cajón drum/percussion) and Lara Wong(flute).
ABOUT DEBORAH “LA CARAMELITA” – www.lacaramelita-flamenco.com
As a first generation Canadian, born to Malaysian parents of South Indian descent, for over 10 years Deborah “La Caramelita” has enchanted international audiences with her unique style of dance. Deborah’s arresting movements take inspiration from the sensuality in flamenco, latin passion and her Indian heritage. The versatility of this young dancer has taken her worldwide (Ecuador, Portugal, Canada, Spain, Malaysia, Russia, Morocco, France, Switzerland) alongside renown artists.Deborah “La Caramelita” began her flamenco journey in Vancouver, where she grew up. Her passion lead her to Andalucía, Spain where she studied with exceptional dancers such as Juana Amaya, Andres Peña, Mercedes Ruiz and others. After having lived and studied intensely in Andalucía for several years, she moved to France where she has an active dance performance and teaching career, but she often returns to the cradle of flamenco in Spain to perfect her art with renowned masters of flamenco dance.
With respect to her Indian heritage, Deborah “La Caramelita” has created many parallels to these rich origins in her dance. It is said that the Gypsies who established, and continue to guard the essential character of flamenco, came from India. As a young Indian growing up in Canada, this history drew Deborah to flamenco and remains an important part of her artistic influence. In her most recent artistic endeavors, she reconnects with her past by integrating the influences of classical Indian dance into flamenco.NRITYA was presented at the 31st Arte Flamenco show in south France in July to great acclaim for its originality while Dawson-Mourocq “has mesmerized people worldwide with her graceful and passionate performances” (Petrina D’Souza, Darpan Magazine).
Caravan World Rhythms is a BC non-profit presenter of world music and dance events, featuring artists from diverse cultural backgrounds from across Canada and around the globe. We would like to thank our funders, the Canada Council, Creative BC and Canadian Heritage, and La Caramelita would like to thank Spedidam for their travel support (from France).