A new twist on a classic: Karen Flamenco performs Swan Lake

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What if Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky was born in Spain instead of Russia? The famous composer’s most popular work, Swan Lake, would’ve likely contained more long ruffled skirts than tutus. Swan Lake might have been a flamenco show instead of a ballet.

Later this month Karen Flamenco performs a new twist on Tchaikovsky’s 139 year-old masterpiece. The Vancouver dance institution will trade pirouettes for taconeo, oboes and harps for Spanish classical guitars and castanets in their performance of Swan Lake May 31 and June 1.

Traditionally performed as a ballet, Swan Lake is a tale of love, transformation, mistaken identity and tragedy. Though the medium of dance is different this time, the narrative arc of Karen Flamenco’s Swan Lake remains the same.

According to Karen Pitkethly, owner and chief instructor at Karen Flamenco, she’s always taken inspiration from ballets like Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan and Romeo and Juliet.

“Coming from a ballet background I have grown up with these stories and love telling them through flamenco dance. The songs and feelings of flamenco song lend themselves well to the tragedy and love themes of these tales,” explains Pitkethly.

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The show stars local dancers Mai Furuhashi as Odette, Marilu Vallejo as Odile,  Nikola Tucakov as Knight Rothbert with flamenco singer Mario Sota as Prince Siegfried. Pitkethly herself will dance a ‘Martinete’ during one of the more sad moments of the play.

Karen Flamenco’s Swan Lake takes place at the Vancouver Playhouse and starts at 7:00 p.m. each night. The show is nearly sold out, so grab some tickets here to see a Russian legend translated by a group of passionate flamenco performers.

Have you seen Swan Lake performed in any other form of dance? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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