Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lola's Fandango Book Release Event

Last Sunday found me at Barefoot Books Studio in Concord, MA for a  90-minute event to kick-off a new Barefoot Books title, Lola's Fandango, by Anna Witte.  Illustrator Micha Archer was there to celebrate the launch of this distinguished new Barefoot Books title and she gave a reading at the studio's whimsical storyteller’s throne. She followed this with a craft-making activity of creative, fun wearable crafts (skirts, flowers, fans, and bow ties!).  To top this wonderful afternoon off, I offered the adorable participants a flamenco demo and then enlisted them in a follow-me flamenco dance in the wonderful, cheery studio! With flamenco fans held high and shouts of ¡Olé! we paraded around the studio stomping our feet and swishing our skirts! 

One mother wrote to me later, We just left barefoot books and had such a fabulous afternoon. My daughter is still clapping and stamping in between spoonfuls of yogurt (we are at Starbucks and she is putting on quite a show!). You were fantastic with the kids. It was such fun to watch!"

Lola’s Fandango is a story about a little girl named Lola who discovers one day that her mother (Mami) used to be a very good flamenco dancer. Lola secretly learns to dance a traditional flamenco dance, Fandango, from her father (Papi). Papi first teaches Lola the rhythm of the dance and then how to stomp her feet. And finally, he teaches her how to move her arms and hands. Lola practices, gaining confidence and developing the spirit (Duende) and attitude needed to be a great flamenco dancer. I won’t tell you anymore but the illustrations are beautiful and colorful and fully capture the fire of flamenco!

I was very pleased with the authentic use of flamenco in this book. Two points of note are the onomatopoeia of Lola’s dance shoes “toca toca tica” and the repeating rhythm of the Fandango: 1-2-3,  4-5-6, 7-8,  9-10,  11-12 (the count that is represents the base of all flamenco 12-count rhythms). A special treat is the CD that accompanies the book, narrated by the Amador family of the Pan-Latin musical and singing ensemble Soly Canto, includes flamenco music and real foot stomping in the background. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Flamenco Algarabía

Fundación Conservatorio Flamenco Casa Patas 
presents JOSÉ BARRIOS in

Flamenco Algarabía
With special guest legendary jazz trumpeter 

$25 General Admission,
$10 Suffolk Community, Students and Seniors (with valid ID) or call 800.440.7654

Flamenco Dance Workshop

Flamenco Dance Workshop
for Adult beginners! 
Thursday, Nov. 10th at the Waban Library Center

Dance instruction 7pm - 8:15pm with
Eva Lorca.
Refreshments and good company until 9pm. $25 per person.

Space is limited. Reserve your spot by emailing

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Youth Flamenco and Lola's Fandango

Lola's Fandango New Book Celebration: Artist Visit & Kids Flamenco Dancing

Barefoot Books Studio

89 Thoreau Street
Concord, MA 01742 USA
A great 90-minute event to kick-off a new Barefoot Books title!  Artist Micha Archer joins us to celebrate the launch of this distinguished new Barefoot Books title (awarded a starred review in Booklist) with a reading at our whimsical storyteller’s throne, followed by craft-making of creative, fun wearable crafts (skirts, flowers, fans, bow ties and more!).  To top this wonderful afternoon off, flamenco dance instructor Eve Agush will offer participants a brief demo, then enlist the children in follow-me dancing in our wonderful Studio!  Ages 2-10.  $5 per child ($10 family max.); pre-registration required to attend.  Participants can purchase this new title at special discount.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Flamenco Arms

To create the sweep for flamenco arms, grow wings! Spread your back wide and lift your arms. Keep this image of wings...feel like you back body is wider than your front body.

The arms must have energy all the way to the fingers, use Dynamic Tension. Feel your arm is moving with the strength of the shoulder muscles

Feel your arm pits are deep caverns with vaulted ceilings. 

In the passage of the arm, you must go through all the "stopping" points and create the shape necessary at that point (ie Never just bring your arm up with out passing through:  low "v" to "t" position to high "v" etc...). In low "v" & 6 o'clock, make sure you do not compress the arm pits. As the arms raise, do not lift your shoulders. Elbows must remain high throughout as the shoulders must remain down. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Cultivate your flamenco body

In yoga class this week, my guru Barbara Benagh used a metaphor for cultivating a plant in relation to growing a pose in yoga. This metaphor really resonated with me and I brought it with me to flamenco class this week.

At the beginning of class, we explore the body structure to be held during flamenco. I usually describe the process physically:
*Drop your tail bone (or feel a long lower back)
*In return you will feel a response in your belly, a lifting in your belly
*Bring your belly into your back back so you fill out your lower back
*Feel your side ribs lifting
*Have deep arm pits
*Lift your shoulder girdle up and then drop it over the top pf the rib cage
*Do not pull your shoulders back, instead open your upper back wide
*At the same time, open your chest up wide too
*You need a micro-bend in your knees and elbows
*Pull the back of your cranium into your neck for a long straight line from tail to crown of head
*Eyes are down cast (hooded) in a far off type of way (do not look at the floor)
This week, however, I led the class using visualization to allow my students to create new habits in forming the flamenco body:

"When you want to plant a flower, you first need to till the soil, nourish it, plant the seeds, water it, and then sit back and wait to see the in relation to the flamenco body. If you imagine that the soil line is at the hips, so your legs and your feet are the roots below the surface. The roots grow down and ground the dance to the earth. From the waist up is the blossom, growing from the soil line (which is your hips). This is the blossom.With good, strong roots, you then use the upper body to create the shapes and lines true to flamenco, building out of the hips and allowing the legs and feet to move separately."

This is a much different image than if you imagine the feet are rooted to a soil line right below them. In this scenario, the legs are not rooted in the soil. But with the soil being at the hip line, you can instead imagine the legs to be strong roots growing deeply down into the soil and then allow the feet to hold you to the earth.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Children’s Dance Festival at the Dance Complex

The Dance Complex is 20 in 2011
Twenty years ago, a bunch of dancers took over the abandoned Odd Fellows Hall in Cambridge’s Central Square.  They now own the repaired and refurbished historic building with six beautiful studios and call it The Dance Complex.

As part of their fall birthday celebrations, the Dance Complex is hosting a Children’s Dance Festival on Sunday 16 October from 1:00-3:00pm.

For children with their guardians) ages 6-18, there will be  20-minute mini-classes. Taught by the faculty of the children’s classes there will be introductions to: ballet; tap; Duncan dance; Flamenco; Break Dancing. Following the classes, there will be a short, informal performances from the classes at the Dance Complex.

After the class, teachers will answer questions and provide information about how the classes are run at The Dance Complex.

No reservations are needed. Just bring a pair on NON-street shoes for dancing. A donation of $5 per non-enrolled  family is requested.  Consider it a birthday gift for The Dance Complex. Please share this event with all your friends!

The Dance Complex is the Central Square stop on the Red Line.
536 Mass Ave, Cambridge 02139 617.547.9363