Portland flamenco dancer to perform story of love, loss in South Portland

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PORTLAND — For flamenco dancer Lindsey Bourassa, the dance form is not just about specific movements.

It’s “a complete art form that is comprised of music, song, dance and percussion,” Bourassa said, “as well as a very rich history, culture and language with artistic influences specific to villages and provinces throughout Andalusia, Spain.”

Bourassa, who owns and operates the Bourassa Dance Studio on Forest Avenue, recently used a grant from New Ventures Maine to spend two months abroad studying flamenco in its native form.

“The more I learn, the more there is to know,” she said this week. “There are many intricate layers in flamenco that reveal themselves over the years with practice, dedication and discipline.

“I think going to Andalusia to study or experience flamenco was essential to truly understanding the art form. It makes so much more sense within its cultural context.”

Now, Bourassa is ready to show off what she learned.

She’ll debut her latest work, “El Lobo y La Paloma” (“The Wolf and The Dove”), at 7 p.m., Saturday, June 3, in the auditorium at South Portland High School. Tickets are $18 in advance or $22 at the door.

Bourassa said the grant allowed her to immerse herself in flamenco “and more fully understand the complexities and many elements of the art form.”

Her most recent trip to Spain was her fifth.

In 2012 Bourassa completed work on a professional certificate in flamenco arts from Seville’s El Centro de Arte y Flamenco.

That’s where she first began to perfect her technique and choreography skills, along with mastering the use of various elements, such as castanets and shawls, as well as learning singing and theory.

In addition to studying flamenco, Bourassa also teaches the dance form at her studio, which offers a variety of ongoing flamenco classes, workshops and performances.

Bourassa was born in Portland, and, as a young adult spent several years living abroad, including university study in Montreal, studying yoga in India and living and working in France.

She first began studying flamenco in 2004 while living in Toulouse, France. Following her stint there, she also spent time studying salsa in Cuba.

Bourassa earned a bachelor’s degree in cultural dance studies and creative writing from Goddard College in 2009.

With her original dance pieces, she said, she tries to “illustrate multifaceted storytelling through the unique blend of flamenco and contemporary dance, which is often woven together with prose.”

Bourassa choreographed each of the seven dance pieces in For “El Lobo,” and also wrote one of the two original poems that will be narrated throughout the performance.

“Through flamenco dance, Arabic music and song, poetry and projected imagery, ‘El Lobo’ tells a story about the loss of a loved one and the mystical connections between the physical and spiritual worlds,” she said.

Bourassa collaborated with Khosro Berahmandi, a Canadian-Iranian painter, Talal Alzefiri, an Arabic singer, oud player Thomas Kovacevic, and fellow flamenco dancer Megan Keogh.

“This work is inspired by the loss of my father to pulmonary fibrosis in 2015,” she said. “In creating this work, I came to believe in the possibility of building a spiritual relationship with those who have passed. … This work honors the process of grieving that’s vital to the process of healing.”

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

Dancer Lindsey Bourassa of Portland will debut an original, full-length flamenco performance June 3 in South Portland.