March 18 2014
By Angelica Blenich
At more than six feet tall Lia Grainger has an athletic build that for many years lent itself to life as an elite basketball player.But now the Vancouver native has traded in her sneakers for frilly skirts and prefers to spend her time on the stage rather than the court.
“I just quit [basketball] one day; I was burned out” said Grainger.
After taking some time to travel Grainger returned to Vancouver with a new passion in mind.
“I was like I want to be a dancer but I [thought] I’m old it’s too late” she said.
She began taking classes and found one particular style that piqued her interest.
“After a year I went to Spain I was really into it” she said. “For the past few years I’ve been really focusing on it really doing it and it’s slowly just taken over everything.”
Now Grainger 32 is a member of Fin de Fiesta an all-Canadian flamenco troupe heading to Haliburton Village at the end of this month.
The group is returning fresh from Spain where they formed their group a number of years ago.
It was there where Grainger connected with singer/dancer Tamar Ilana dancer Alexandra Talbot and musician Dennis Duffin in a café.
“We were all just working so hard there that it made sense to do something together here [in Canada]” said Grainger.
From now until April the group is performing their second tour together throughout Ontario primarily visiting small towns and intimate audiences.
It creates a whole different experience than performing in a large urban area said Grainger who will be visiting Haliburton for the first time.
“We felt that people really were interested in what we had to offer” she said. “Flamenco is exciting it’s passionate. It’s entertaining and not boring.”
Throughout the two-hour performance audience members will be entertained with both live music and dance both solo numbers and group pieces said Grainger.
Many of the dancers’ costumes are custom made with bright colours and elaborate prints highlighting the artistic flare of flamenco.
“I think it’s a dance that really allows you to express a wide range of emotions but really really intensely” said Grainger. “It’s extremely powerful. When I see people that are doing it well I see these emotions that are real.”
There is also a high amount of technical work required to perform as well as the ability to react to live music the preferred soundtrack for flamenco said Grainger.
The name of the troupe is derived from the part of a flamenco show that takes place at the end where members of the audience join in on the fun.
“That’s my favourite part the fin de fiesta” said Grainger. “They invite everyone to come up to jam. It means end of the party but it’s like the beginning of the party … it really is very fun to watch or be a part of. Nothing is planned or choreographed.”
Those interested in being part of the fun can catch Fin de Fiesta performing at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion on March 27 at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 for general admission $18 for seniors and students and can be purchased online through www.madeinhaliburton.ca or at The Photo Shop in Haliburton and Organic Times in Minden.