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Pasajes: A flamenco story of grief and survival

Veronica Maguire's husband died in her arms, of a sudden aneurysm in 2010. Maguire, a flamenco dancer, and guitarist husband Harry Owen, had established Alma de Espana, Victoria, B.C.'s first flamenco company and school, in 1991. Says Maguire: "As a tribute to Harry, I managed to put on our show Recuerdos in 2011, which had been in the planning stages, but on a personal level, because I didn't have Harry anymore, I had to reinvent myself."

The company's new production, Pasajes, which takes place July 12, is Maguire's catharsis. As with many artists, her work was her salvation. She and guitarist son Gareth Owen made several soul-searching trips to Jerez, Spain. By immersing themselves in their craft, they learned to cope with their grief.

The new dance includes four flamenco guitarists and singers from Spain, along with local artists, poet Garth Martens (who has written the connective narrative), and Maguire's son. The Pasajes score includes specially written flamenco songs, and pianist/composer Jo Ann Dalisay performing Fantasia En Cinco, a gift to Maguire dedicated to Harry. Says Maguire: "What Pasajes says is 'I have survived.'"

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The special evening also includes Maguire being presented with the prestigious Jacqueline Lemieux Prize by the Canada Council for her lifetime contribution to dance.

Pasajes will be performed by the Alma de Espana Flamenco Dance Company and School at the Royal Theatre, Victoria, on July 12.

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