Helen’s castanets get one last click

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TO Montoya mom and daughter . Montoya mom and daughter

Probably for as long as Gauteng can remember, the Montoya family have been part of their Spanish dance world. They have, for what seems like for ever, had a school in Pretoria, with annual concerts around Gauteng and for many years, they also performed at a restaurant in Midrand.

It’s that time of the year again, but with a special addendum added to the season. This will be mom Helena’s last time on stage.

After sold-out performances last year, the renowned production España will return to Pretoria’s Atterbury Theatre stage this weekend.

Helena (mother) and Maria Lorca Montoya (daughter) are joined by their pupils, professional dancers and Mischief Guitar Duo to present an energetic Spanish dancing collaboration.

España 2014 is the collective brainchild of Helena and Maria and will showcase various ranges of Spanish dance with some exciting new choreography. Having two guitarists as guest artists will add to the mesmerising melodies of Spanish music.

Helena will again be exploring her choreographic skills with Ravel’s Bolero – a piece of music close to her heart. She has decided to retire from the stage, wanting to focus her energy and skills on choreography, teaching and producing.

TOHelena (smaller)

“Dancing is and will always be my life, be it in turbulent times or joy and happiness. My dancing carried me through every emotion, no medication could have helped if compared to how music and the passion of Spanish dance helped me. Sometimes I would think, ‘how am I ever going to get through the next few hours of either teaching or rehearsals?’ after something painful or dramatic had happened, to someone involved in my world or to me, but when I put the music on and the pupils walked into my studio unaware of anything going on in my life, the problems faded away and I was transported into the world of dance,” is how she explains her lifelong love affair.

“I do not have one regret dedicating my life to my dancing career, it has just brought too many smiles, such joy and such help to too many people out there, and the joy on the faces in the audience, the expressions on faces of the elderly or those with illness, to see them move to the music and lighten their facial expressions and take away their pain, no money in the world can give one this satisfaction,” she muses.

She started Spanish dance at the age of 12 and from the age of 18 was made a lead dancer with her later husband (now divorced) Jose Montoya. The Montoya name has been out there for more than half-a- decade. Her wish is that the name will carry on through her daughter Maria whom she believes in and knows will carry and strengthen the family tradition.

“Maybe, when my Australian grandkids are older, my daughter there, Adene, will be able to start the Montoya name in Perth,” she says.

For this last performance her brother from the US and her daughter from Perth are coming to support her. It is with this in mind that the Montoyas hope to make this particular production one that will enthrall all the senses and keep your feet tapping for hours after the curtains go down.

Rosa Jiminez – teacher, dancer and choreographer from Sasolburg – will again be a guest artist in this production. Jiminez and Maria have recently returned from performing at the Busan International Dance Festival in South Korea, where they were invited to perform alongside dancers from Israel, China, France, Italy and many more.

The two dancers will be performing one of their works that they performed on the stage in South Korea as well as a new duet that will be choreographed especially for this season.

The show spotlights modern and traditional Spanish dance, fiery rhythms and bewitching music.

• Espana 2014 is on at the Atterbury Theatre, Lynnwood Road, Pretoria on Saturday at 11am, 3pm and 8pm and on Sunday at 3pm. Bookings through Computicket. Tickets range from R150 to R180 p/p.


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