Irish dancer Joel Hanna performs as part of Encuentros.
Irish dancer Joel Hanna performs as part of Encuentros.

Dance worlds collide in Encuentros, a percussive dance production that  combines flamenco, Irish, tap, and Egyptian belly dance.

“Encuentros is a rich exploration of human interaction and expression,” says Kasandra Flamenco’s Kasandra “La China”. “As dancers encounter each other, each reveals a personal journey of joy and sorrow, jealousy and rage, loneliness and, hope. We are able to create rich, seductive dance duets with male dance partners of such star power.”

This co-production between Kasandra Flamenco and Caravan World Rhythms, features international guest artist, Madrileño flamenco dancer Ricardo Lopez. Lopez has danced around the world with many of Spain’s most celebrated artists.  Lopez has been a soloist with Nuevo Ballet Español since 2002 and has danced with Compañia Rafaela Carrasco since 2004, one of the most celebrated contemporary flamenco companies today.

Encuentros is a mash-up of dance styles
Encuentros is a mash-up of dance styles through the passionately dark and the delightfully playful. Photo by Elvira Yebes.

Lopez is joined by Irish dancer, choreographer and martial artist Joel Hanna, who began his career at age nine in Vancouver and quickly rose through the international dance ranks after joining Riverdance in 1997.  The men are joined by Vancouver-based Egyptian belly dancer Ashley Kirkham, and master flamenco dancer Kasandra “La China”.

The evening also includes live music from flamenco singer Vicente Griego. The New Mexico-based singer will be accompanied by musicians playing the flamenco guitar, and a variety of percussive instruments from around the world including the cajón from Peru, and the Middle Eastern oud and darbuka

Dance highlights include a dramatic face-off between flamenco dancer Ricardo Lopez and Irish dancer Joel Hanna, the alluring Spanish bata de cola (long train dress), a soulful and evocative belly dance, plus rapid-fire footwork in a jealous love triangle.

Encuentros plays the Vancouver Playhouse (600 Hamilton St, Vancouver) on May 1. Visit for tickets and information.

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