Evocative, precise, passionate. These are just a few of the words that have been used to describe the flamenco performances and choreographies of Canadian dancer Lia Grainger. Her unusually long and lean physique makes Lia something of an anomily in the flamenco world, a fact she has embraced to create a choreographic vocabulary and quality of movement — sharp and elegant — that is all her own.
Born in Vancouver, Lia began her dance training in 2002, studying with renowned maestros Oscar Nieto and Kasandra “La China.” In 2004 she started performing regularly at the city’s flamenco peña, Kino Cafe. Lia performed with Vancouver’s Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre in 2007 before relocating to Toronto, where she continued her studies with Canadian flamenco legends Carmen Romero and Esmeralda Enrique. Lia continues her studies with many of Spain’s great artists including Manuela Rios, Farruquito, Manuel Betanzos, Ursula Lopez, and Alicia Marquez. In 2012 she toured nationally with Flamenguitos del Norte Dance Company and was a featured performer at the Vancouver Jondo Flamenco Festival and the inaugural Montreal Flamenco Festival. That same year Lia began dividing her time between Canada and Spain, and continues to do so today.
In 2013, Lia was one of just three dancers nationally to be selected for participation in the prestigious "Paso a Paso" mentoring program run by Myriam Allard and Hedi Graja of the contemporary flamenco company La Otra Orilla. The following year, Lia was honoured to share the stage as a performer and choreographer with artists from a wide range of dance disciplines in “60x60”, a NextSteps production directed by Viv Moore at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre. In 2016 Lia was a headlining performer at All Over the Map, a festival celebrating international dance produced by Vancouver’s NextSteps. Lia was one of six North American flamenco dancers selected to compete in the 2017 CERTAMEN USA, a competition that takes place annually at Lincoln Center in New York City.
For the past several years, Lia has devoted much of her creative energy to Fin de Fiesta Flamenco, an international flamenco dance and music ensemble she co-founded in 2012 with Canadian guitarist Dennis Duffin. Lia spends much of each year choreographing new work in close consultation with the ensemble’s musicians in Seville. Fin de Fiesta tours festivals and theatres across Canada each summer and in 2017 completed a 40-show tour of Canada and France. Lia has received support for her choreographic and performance work from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council in the field of dance.