Sonia Olla moves with passion — and with that passion comes strength. She feels it in every word she speaks, every expression she makes, every step she creates.
This is pure flamenco, she says.
Her every life choice is steeped in the same fervor: learning the sultry dance as a young girl and moving from Spain to New York to pursue it, choreographing for the likes of Madonna and Ricky Martin, and even performing during OLA of Eastern Long Island’s “Sensaciones” on Friday night at Guild Hall in East Hampton, to the music of Spanish guitar duo The Fox Brothers.
“I’m excited to do this show and in this area, with this new music,” Olla said during a recent telephone interview. “Flamenco is the kind of dance with a lot of passion, a lot of strength and flamenco, for me, always makes me express all that I have inside. When you’re on the stage, you take out everything that you have. That’s why you show a lot of strength and a lot of passion. I think people receive this when you see it in life, which is very different than in a video.”
Though they have never met Olla in person, The Fox Brothers — comprised of Miami-based Sebastian and David Fox — already anticipate an electric collaboration. Flamenco dance and Spanish guitar amplify one another, they explained, and the brothers have played music for nearly as long as Olla has danced.
“My mom wanted for us to go to school and live in Argentina for a couple of years, to rediscover our roots and our culture, so we went back there, and Sebastian started playing a lot more guitar than I did,” David Fox said. “When we got back to Miami after two years, I started to take it a little more serious.”
As teenagers, they landed their first gig as a duo and haven’t looked back since, they said. Playing together came naturally, having grown up under the tutelage of their father, guitarist Alex Fox, and having lived the same story.
“Sometimes we’re playing something and we don’t even have to look at each other,” Sebastian Fox said. “Even if we’re improvising, we feel when the changes are going to come. It’s because of the years spent together and because we’re brothers, too. We know exactly what’s coming in the music. You can’t explain it.”
Bringing together different styles and genres, The Fox Brothers communicate through two Spanish guitars, while Olla communicates through dance — an art she first learned as a young girl in Catalonia, Spain.
“I was playing with my friends — I was 7 years old, very small — and I just hear the music and people with the shoes, some other kids dancing and I was so excited,” Olla recalled. “I opened the door and I said, ‘Please, can I dance with you?’ without knowing anything, and the woman said, ‘Yes, yes! Come in, come in!’”
With her mother’s blessing, she returned every day after — and continues her dance lessons even now, as a director, choreographer and bailaora of international prestige.
“Flamenco is contagious. It’s a very strong art,” she said. “When an artist is in the best moment is when the audience is warm and the audience gives you all their best, and then you give them the best. It’s like a back and forth about the energy and the audience. I hope to see a lot of people enjoy, and receive this from them.”
“Sensaciones,” a wild night of flamenco-infused live music and dancing, will feature The Fox Brothers and Sonia Olla on Friday, May 24, at 8 p.m. at Guild Hall, located at 158 Main Street in East Hampton. Tickets range from $20 to $60. For more information, call (631) 899-3441 or visit olaofeasternlongisland.org.