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Finnish flamenco takes top honours in Madrid

Finnish dance company “Compañia Kaari Martin” has won several awards at the world's most prestigious flamenco choreography competition in Madrid, Spain.

A scene from "The Raven".
A scene from "The Raven". Image: Compañia Kaari Martin

The company swept the awards at the Spanish dance and flamenco choreography competition (el Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Española y Flamenco) with their surrealist solo piece The Raven. Company leader Kaari Martin took the first prize in the solo choreography category, while composer Roni Martin was awarded for the best music in the competition, and Erika Turunen won the prize for best costumes.

“We were surprised by the unanimous decision of the jury in the solo choreography competition,” a thrilled Kaari Martin told Yle over the phone from Madrid.

The victory is all the more exceptional, as the top prize in the choreography competition has usually gone to Spaniards.

Most of the participants in the competition perform traditional flamenco dancing. The Raven is a clear departure from this, with its fusion of modern flamenco and contemporary dance.

Kaari Martin’s award-winning solo piece was performed by Spanish dancer Mariana Collado.

The jury was chaired by Antonio Najarro, head of Spain’s National Ballet.

Compañia Kaari Martin last participated in the same competition six years ago. At that time their piece Tell Me Rain came in third, becoming the first foreign dance piece to be awarded in the competition, which has been running in Spain since 1992.

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