The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Love is in the Air

Coryse Borg Monday, 21 November 2016, 15:00 Last update: about 3 years ago

How does one take a classic Maltese legend and develop it into a dance show… with a bit of Spanish influence thrown in? Coryse Borg speaks to Ingrid Sciberras, the producer of a new dance show called ‘Amor’, being organised by Alegria Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco.

Having lost her parents at a young age, Ingrid Sciberras has lived her life very independently and has always learnt how to solve any problem that comes my way.  Apart from working in HR at a leading real estate company, Ingrid also runs the Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco, which is in the process of organising a ts fourth dance production.

"I started flamenco at the age of 25 with no other background of dance," explains Ingrid, "My attraction towards flamenco was actually the singing and not the dancing initially.  I started taking flamenco dance with Rosana Maya who was my teacher for a long number of years.  Since my first class, I have not looked back and flamenco is now my way of life."

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Apart from obtaining various qualifications in flamenco, Ingrid also studied in Spain and eventually obtained her teacher's certificate.

"I strongly believe that no teacher should be teaching flamenco until they lived for a while in Andalucia because there is such a strong connection with all the traditions.  Holding a certificate is not essentially the most important thing to teach flamenco, the experience and feel of Spain and its flamencos make it the most important qualification," she says.

Alegria was originally founded in 1999 by Rosana Maya and Nicola Henson.  In 2009, the school was taken over by Ingrid who re-named it Alegria Academia de Baile Flamenco, making it Malta's only dance school that specialises in flamenco. 

"The philosophy of Alegria was and always will be 'Realizar su Pasion' - realise your passion," Ingrid tells me, "My family and friends all support my passion. I do not get to see them much, but they all understand and help me out wherever they can. My biggest appreciation goes to my partner who I met while teaching and performing for a year in India, and who is very patient especially when I am stressed with the production of a show, giving me advice and guidance."

The idea for Amor came about after discussions with her head of choreography, Estelle Bonello Sant. Eventually, it was decided to go for a Maltese legend and develop it into a dance show.  The iconic 'L-Gharusa tal-Mosta' was the final choice of story and with the help of actress Charlotte Stafrace who turned the story into dance scenes, Amor was born. Nicola Henson, Sara Bianchi, Ursula Farrugia and Ema Marie Attard are the other choreographers who are working on the show.

Like all Alegria's previous shows, the production will have have a local guest who is a musician; this year Renzo Spiteri will be playing the Tarbuka and the Hang.  Joe Grech will be singing 'ghana' during the show.  

"Amor is, of course, a love story," smiles Ingrid, "The mix of music is both pure flamenco, some classical Spanish, with some Maltese too and we have taken a lot of time in designing the costumes to have both a flamenco and a Maltese touch. A stylised flamenco section called Estilizada will also be featured in the show."

The story starts in a village square in Malta where two people fall in love, but the night before their marriage the bride gets kidnapped by the Turks who take her away to be married to their Sultan.  The scenes change from Malta to Turkey where her loved one travels to rescue her.

The cast of Amor are all the members of the Academy who have been working very hard throughout the whole summer.  Ingrid also credits the "many other beautiful people" - her talented crew who dedicate their time to help out to ensure the show is a success.

Amor will be taking place at the Salesian Theatre, Sliema on November 26th and 27th, and at Don Bosco Oratory Theatre, Rabat Gozo on December 10th. Tickets may be booked through [email protected] or 9949 5187. A percentage of ticket sales will be donated to RIDT to go towards cancer research. All those arriving at the theatre will also be able to enjoy an art exhibition/sale of paintings by Alan Pace.


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