Rosanna Terracciano presents her latest solo piece POLKA(dots) this week at the 34th Annual Alberta Dance Festival: The Fate of Dance. (Photo Credit: Reynard Li)

Today, many know Rosanna Terracciano as an independent flamenco dance artist, but what they may not know about her is that she first studied contemporary dance at the University of Calgary.

Born and raised in Calgary, Terracciano began performing through activities like Italian folk dancing and the drum corps colour guard. At the age of 18, while pursuing a degree in Civil Engineering, Terracciano started her formal dance training through U of C’s dance program.

“Not too long after that, I started flamenco classes and both my body and temperament pretty quickly understood that flamenco was much more of an organic fit for me,” said Terracciano.

And since that initial discovery, Terracciano has trained in flamenco through intensive professional development trips to Spain, and various intensive workshops throughout Canada. The dance artist’s most recent training has taken to her Sevilla where she studies flamenco creation in a contemporary context under the mentorship of Juan Carlos Lérida, whom she met in 2011.

In October 2014, Terraciano’s work was presented at the Bienal de Flamenco in Sevilla. Presenting at the Bienal as one of only a handful of non-Spanish artists was an incredible experience, says Terracciano.

“It was a very proud moment for me, and the experience has undeniably marked a shift in my thinking about my work…The opportunity came at a point when I was so conflicted about my relationship with dance, that it truly felt like a gift was being given to me for a very specific reason.”

“I wouldn’t still be dancing if it weren’t for my travels,” Terraciano continued. “These opportunities to present my work in cities like Sevilla and Barcelona, and to connect with an international community of artists thinking about flamenco in a whole new way, provide a support system for my work and a momentum forward.”

That momentum is important for Terracciano who dedicates herself to developing a distinct voice that “[inhabits] a space at the intersection of many different art forms.”

“Simply put, what I’m doing is difficult,” said Terracciano. “And it really knocks me down some days. But I continue to feel driven to develop my own authentic voice among all that flamenco and dance and art may represent to me in the contemporary world.”

This week, Terracciano will present her latest solo work POLKA(dots) as part of the 34th Annual Alberta Dance Festival: The Fate of Dance. Developed in part during her residency at Montreal’s Studio Pleamar in July, the piece will feature one bata de cola (skirt with long tail at the end) and many farolillos (paper patio lanterns typically used at the annual spring fair in Sevilla), as well as original music by local musician Chris Dadge.

“It’s an experiment in not taking myself seriously,” said Terracciano about the piece, which she describes as flamenco meets polka. “[It’s] a huge step outside of my comfort zone for me. So, audiences can expect to come along for the ride as I venture into this new territory.”

About embracing chance limitations as part of this year’s festival theme, Terracciano says she has always considered chance as a means to “create more space for experimentation and possibility in the creative process.”

“Possibility is an exciting thing,” Terracciano said.”The best thing I can take away from this experience is the value of being flexible as both creator and interpreter. And being open to all that possibility.”
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Rosanna presented at the premiere edition of the Coetani Experimental Flamenco Festival in Athens, Greece in January 2015.

More information about Rosanna can be found at her personal website: http://rosannaflamenco.com/

Rosanna talks about her mentor Juan Carlos Lérida in an article recently published by THE DANCE CURRENT