After years of training as a flamenco dancer in Seville and Madrid, and working as a professional dancer in Spain, France, and Germany, Myriam Allard came back to her native Montréal and founded a flamenco company La Otra Orilla (the other shore) in 2006 with Hedi “el Moro” Graja.
El 12 is a fusion of celebration of the flamenco tradition and simultaneous deconstruction of the classic flamenco dance vocabulary. Whether the ticking of clocks, the sound of a stalled gramophone record, the rhythm of breath, or the chords of the guitar, rhythm and beat initiate the movement and ultimately consume or extinguish it.
The performance conveys resonances or interferences between different temporal dimensions, from the 12-beat flamenco rhythm to the beat of the performance, and the more dreamlike rhythm of the video imagery.
While Hedi el Moro sings of memory and hope, of yesterday and tomorrow, Myriam Allard weaves these threads into a visual tapestry, interpreting through movement human resistance and the will to live of bodies, destined for oblivion, that rush (in 12 beats, 12 hours, 12 months, 12 years) headlong toward the abyss.
The musicians perform simultaneously with the dancer, and even playfully engage with her. Guitarist Caroline Planté is accompanied by Kraig Adams (on base) and Éric Breton (percussion).
The costumes, created by Susana Vera, tell a story for each of the scenes: black pants and black, long-sleeved top for the first scene with moving clocks – reminiscent of Chaplin’s Modern Times. A white, long, floating skirt for the sea and waves motif. A corsetted, white dress for the gramophone scene. A red coat, black pants, and red high heels for the modern flamenco scene. A girlish dress for the last scene of a school play-ground. The costumes come alive as Myriam Allard begins to move in them.
El 12 is currently touring Quebec and will be back in Montréal on March 3rd, 2012, at Maison de la Culture Villeray, Auditorium Le Prevost, and on March 16th at Maison de la Culture Saint-Léonard, Théâtre Mirella & Lino Saputo.