MGQ with Colette Illarde
In 2006, the quartet began a fascinating new concert collaboration with Flamenco dancer Colette Illarde, featuring an original production of Six Pieces on Spanish Folksongs by the great Spanish composer Enrique Granados. With music arranged by the MGQ, the choreography by Ms. Illarde reflects the extraordinary vitality of Spanish culture and includes Spanish regional and folk dancing, classical ballet and flamenco. Jeff Bartlett, Artistic Director of Minneapolis’ Southern Theater offered the following review after two sold out performances in March of 2007:
"Six Pieces on Spanish Folksongs was beautifully played by the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet; the music exquisitely illuminated by Collette Illarde’s choreography. Ms. Illarde drew upon her thorough knowledge of Spanish culture, creating individual and distinct worlds for each of the songs and bringing these worlds to life through her precise and passionate dance."
Following the great success of the premiere performances in 2007, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet and Colette Illarde have collaborated further, expanding their concert repertoire to include music by another great Spanish composer, Joaquin Rodrigo.
A Chicago native, Colette Marie Illarde began ballet training with Edward Parish. She also trained at the Boitsov School of Classical Ballet and danced on scholarship with the Joel Hall Jazz Dance company.
In 1991, she discovered flamenco with Dame Libby Komaiko and the Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, and danced for five years with the company.
Since relocating to Minneapolis, she has performed with groups "Rincon del Flamenco", "Zorongo Flamenco", "Trio Flamenco" and Ballet Minnesota. She formed her own group "FUEGO Flamenco" along with guitarist Scott Mateo Davies, and has produced many works including: "Simply Flamenco", "Splotches of Spain" and "Caravan: From Cairo to Cordoba"
Colette is a sought-after performer, instructor and cultural arts presenter. Incorporating her academic background in social work and elementary education, she has a deep commitment to youth and community empowerment through the arts. She served on the Ordway Theater's Cultural Advisory Committee and is a founding member of Flamenco Minnesota. She is the Artistic Liaison for the City of Minneapolis‚ MOSAIC: Celebrating Cultural Diversity through the Arts.
She has received numerous awards for her dance from institutions including the Jerome Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, St Paul Companies, COMPAS, and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. In 2006 she was awarded the McKnight Fellowship for dance.
She travels to Spain often, continually experiencing the richness of flamenco art and culture. Her many dedicated talents are an asset to the art form she has made her life path.