Nanaimo's Janine Wood performs during Flamenco de la Costa Feb. 20

Nanaimo's Janine Wood performs during Flamenco de la Costa Feb. 20

Joy of movement

NANAIMO - Flamenco's range of emotions expressed in the dance always takes performer back to one of happiness.


It is the emotional state flamenco always returns to at the end of the dance, said Janine Wood, a founding member of Solera Performing Arts Society.

Flamenco leads the watcher through a full range of emotion.

“Right through the emotions of deep passion, sorrow and even anger,” she said. “Flamenco brings you back to a joyful, happy place.”

Wood said being introduced to the art form of flamenco “literally changed her life.” After being introduced to a teacher in Victoria, she felt driven to pursue the art form.

It led her to visit Spain in 1998 and immerse herself in the culture. Since then she has visited the country eight times. Each time she visits with the intention of studying and learning choreography.

“Building on our repertoire with the goal of finding authenticity,” said Wood.

When she lived in Tofino, she formed the Solera Performing Arts group with some of her friends. She said it was a comfortable and nurturing environment and audience in Tofino that helped the troupe members grow as artists.

“When you have an opportunity to show an audience, it forces you to do your best,” said Wood.

Since forming in Tofino the dance members have moved to different communities, with Wood herself now living in Nanaimo.

The troupe performs Flamenco de la Costa Saturday (Feb. 20), featuring Gwyneth McIntosh, Jake Lee, Jan Bate and Wood.

Lee, an acoustic guitarist, is providing the accompanying music for the performers.

“His music is beautiful all on its own,” said Wood. “Some say guitar is one of the most difficult parts of flamenco to study.”

Wood said McIntosh is a versatile performer and there are very few flamenco performers who can master both dancing and the voice like her.

“She’s a powerhouse. Her cante is beautiful and her dancing is amazing,” she said.

Wood said one of the challenges of flamenco is achieving authenticity. The dance is so “emotional based” that dancers need to put their “heart and soul into it each time” she said.

“Flamenco is the marriage between Moroccan rhythms, Spanish guitar and with roots in Indian movement,” said Wood. “The hand movements are simultaneously strong, passionate and sensual.”

Flamenco de la Costa, presented by Solera Performing Arts Society and Bandita Productions, takes the stage at 7 p.m. at the Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd.

Tickets are $17 in advance by calling 250-754-8550, online at or e-mailing