“Imagenes del Oriente” Mozaico Flamenco & Orchid Ensemble performance of Cafe de Chinitas at Edie's Hats on Granville Island

“Imagenes del

Mozaico Flamenco & Orchid
Ensemble performance of Cafe de Chinitas at Edie's Hats on Granville Island

Thursday June 14, 2007, www.gunghaggisfatchoy.com

By Todd Wong & Christine Chin

Kasandra La China dances Flamenco Tango for Cafe de Chinitas – photo Todd Wong

It's an incredible intimate affair with passionate flamenco music and dancing
performed by people who love what they are doing and share what they love with
the audience.   Imagine a small funky hat store in Granville
Island 's Net Loft turned
into an intimate cafe.  Fill the store with seats for a cafe setting, set
up tables of food and a bar.  Allow the Orchid Ensemble to let loose with
their incredible musicianship, set fire by the flamenco artistry of Mozaico Flamenco's Oscar and
Kasandra La China
with their troupe of hot smouldering dancers dressed in Chinese cheong sam
dresses.  Wow!

Cultural fusion has happened all around the world.  Not just in Canada ,
but also Spain , the
Mediterranean, the Silk Road … but this
event was on a richter scale!  The event by invitation only took place on
Friday, June 8th… but repeats for the public on June 15th, Friday.  Call
Edie's Hats for tickets.  Check
here for the event info: http://www.ediehats.com/events/index.html


Here's a review of the evening by Christine Chin:

From the moment of the first chords plucked and the last dance tapped,
I was dazzled and enchanted with it all!  Café de Chinitas is a
re-creation of 19th century Flamenco culture, as it originated from the
Gypsies, in the cafes of southern Spain . 
Flamenco style dramatically performed tonight incorporated Spanish guitar
playing, ancient erhu and zheng sounds, staccato clapping, singing, and dancing
in an intimate Van Gogh café-like richness, electrified many times over! 
The dancers moved with combined gracefulness and intensity, and those who were
not singing or dancing were clapping and shouting out words of
encouragement:  ole! baile! baile!–Dance! Dance!

Cafe de Chinitas: Shyiang Strong is flamenco dancing in motion- photo Todd Wong

For two days June 8 & 15 the Vancouver-based Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre
presents “Imagenes del Oriente”, the first of their Café de
Chinitas series, combining flamenco dance with the complementary sounds of
traditional Chinese harmonies.  A unique blend of culture, dance and
music, the founders of Mozaico Flamenco, Oscar Nieto and Kasandra (also known
as “La China ”),
are truly intercultural visionaries.  They bring together the ideas to
celebrate cultural diversity in the form of sound and performance, by
collaborating with The Orchid Ensemble to create a truly ethnic ambience and by
understanding and incorporating a cultural representation of performers,

Among her many titles as producer and choreographer, and Project Artist
Director for Café de Chinitas, Kasandra is known as one of the rising stars in
flamenco dance in the city.  The combination of passionate expression and
precise style draws the audience in to her world.  As Artistic Director of
Mozaico Flamenco, Oscar is an accomplished flamenco dancer, and is singer in
this project.  Their supporting dancers hail from diverse Asian and
Western nationalities and exhibit a high professionalism to the art of
Flamenco.  Peter Mole is the Flamenco Guitarist, and as a musician, plays
a large part in Vancouver ’s
Flamenco community.

The Juno-nominated Orchid Ensemble
added a distinct Asian sound to complement the dance vignettes.  The
multi-ethnic trio utilizes ancient musical instruments from China ,
such as the erhu, a long-neck 2-stringed (Lan Tung), the zheng, an elongated
wooden tube with bridges and many strings stretching over it (Gelina Jiang),
and the marimba wooden keyboard of African roots to create a harmonious dynamic
rhythm (Jonathan Bernard).

Cafe de Chinitas' sponsors, artistic and musical
creators: Edie Orenstein, Kasandra, Sayo Nickerson and Lan Tung – photo Todd

The Event Sponsor of the show, Edie Hats transformed its space to create an
exquisite café scene of intimacy, elegance, and warmth.  The owner Edie
Orenstein is producer of this series, “Imagenes del Oriente”,
explained that the even the particular wooden layering of the floor was just
appropriate for the dance show, and half-jokingly remarked that smoking was not
allowed in this café because she was worried about her hats!  Edie was a
spontaneous and charmed hostess, guiding us throughout the presentation.

Sitting back on our high stools, a painter and his companion a writer for the
local paper, had graciously allowed me to join them.  We were
mesmerized by the passionate display of emotion, movement and sound, that at
one point I closed my eyes to feel the show.  The interactive dimension of
the audience as patrons to the café, you were captivated by the
experience.  I and all the patrons of the café clapped resoundingly to the
inner and outer beauty of Flamenco.

Kevin, Leon, Christine, Edie and Todd enjoy some snacks and socializing during intermission – photo courtesy of Todd Wong

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