Founded in 1984 by Deanna Blacher, Danza Viva has become synonymous with Spanish Dance in Australia and abroad and is one of the few organisations of it's kind outside of Spain to incorporate in its program, the full range of Spanish dance styles from classical through to flamenco.
- Arts:Performing Arts
An Academy, which offers a unique training program of structured courses, in conjunction with repertoire and advanced technique,
A professional Company, (Danza Viva Spanish Dance Company), comprising mostly talented students and ex-students from the Academy, whose level of expertise and desire to continue on the path to excellence permits them to attain the highest degree of professionalism, and
Aire Youth Spanish Dance Company, which aims to provide a platform for young dancers and choreographers in a professional environment.
Danza Viva has become synonymous with Spanish Dance in Australia and abroad and is one of the few organisations of it's kind outside of Spain to incorporate in its program, the full range of Spanish dance styles from classical through to flamenco.
Introducing Deanna Blacher
Drawn to the exacting discipline of the Spanish dance in its manifold forms, Deanna Blacher, founder of Danza Viva, has devoted a lifetime to the study, teaching, performing and choreography of Spanish dance.
As pedagogue, she has worked tirelessly to advance the interests of Spanish dance (some of her lectures on the subject have been published at university level). She was a guest teacher in Spanish dance for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Canada, and performed innumerable solo dance recitals in South Africa, Australia, Europe and North America.
Deanna Blacher's teachers include, inter alia, Elsa Brunelleschi, Victoria Eugenia and nearly all of the great teachers of the 20th century. Amongst them are the incomparable La Quica, her daughter and son in law, Mercedes y Albano, El Guito, Ciro, Paco Fernandez, Jose Antonio, Jose Granero, Alberto Lorca, Maria Magdalena, Flora Albaicin, Victoria Eugenia, Regla Ortega, Isabel Quintero, Luisa Pericet, Matilda Corral, Manolo Marin and Merche Esmeralda.
In addition, Deanna studied Jota with famed jotero Pedro Azorin and undertook extensive study with Juanjo Linares in the regional dance of Spain. She had the rare distinction of being invited to travel with him to outlying villages to research the folklore and folk dance traditions of communities well away from the tourist circuit. She vividly recalls rising at 4am in the depths of winter in order to catch a 5am bus or train to anywhere from Cuenca to Burgos to Huelva or Segovia. These trips were immensely useful in providing insights to Spain, the Spanish soul and the Spaniards as a people, quite apart from their glorious dance tradition, that are not ordinarily available to foreign dancers in Spain.
Deanna Blacher has danced the title role in Lorca's Yerma in Goyo Montero's choreography of the Lorca drama. Amongst Deanna Blacher's many talents, her individual performances as a castanets virtuoso or her productions as a choreographer, are legend.
As the only acknowledged castanets virtuoso in Australia, and one of a handful of such artists worldwide, Deanna Blacher, who has been critically acclaimed internationally for her work in this area - i.e. in elevating the castanets to virtuoso solo status in the concert hall - continues to devote herself to expanding her repertoire of works for castanets and orchestra , and, through more recent concertising - both with recitals with piano and as a soloist with orchestra - to bring her work to as wide a public as possible.
She first developed the castanets as a solo instrument with American pianist Michael Isador in South Africa, and her first performance as a castanets soloist was with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra, followed by innumerable appearances with other orchestras, amongst which, the Residencie Orchestra of The Hague, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (at the invitation of Zubin Mehta), the Israel Chamber Orchestra (a series of six concerts), the Israel Sinfonietta, the WA Symphony Orchestra, the Tasmania Symphony Orchestra, and premieres of orchestral works especially written for her by composers from Spain (under the baton of Enrique Garcia Asensio), South Africa and England.
Besides these performances, Deanna Blacher performed in countless solo castanets recitals with pianists Alan Sternberg (America), Ya'ara Tal and Zmira Lutsky(Israel), Jean Roberts (America), and radio broadcasts in both South Africa and Israel. She also performed the complete Danzas Espanolas by Granados, in a version for castanets and piano which was a first for Australian music and dance lovers.
Deanna Blacher the Choreographer, on the other hand, has to her credit hundreds of works created for a vast gamut of styles, from the purely traditional Spanish idiom, to major orchestral works in both Spanish and non Spanish repertoire. She has choreographed extensively for the Danza Viva Spanish Dance Company in numerous seasons in Perth and on tour throughout WA and Australia, for the State Opera of South Australia (Carmen) and for the Hong Kong International Festival of Dance Academies.
Deanna Blacher has done more than anyone before her to place Spanish dance firmly on the arts map of Western Australia, from which base she frequently travels interstate and overseas in a number of dance capacities. Her system of graded Spanish dance examinations is being increasingly adopted both in Australia and abroad.