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Flamenco dancer visits school during workshop

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Flamenco dancer visits school during workshop

Abi Kraus

Abi Kraus

Abi Kraus

Sam Keimweiss, Staff Writer

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The Flamenco Dance workshop hosted on Thursday by the Dance department and Theater, Dance, and Film Studies Department Chair Alison Kolinski was filled with stamping feet, rhythmic clapping, and students’ desires to learn the unique style of dance.

The workshop, led by visiting instructor Rebeca Thomás, focused on developing a general understanding of what is involved in Flamenco and then “to get students to move in a different way than they are used to moving,” Thomás said.

Thomás found Flamenco dance as a college student on a semester abroad in Spain. She studied the dance on and off for seven years before devoting her time to it, and now works in Flamenco dance full time.

“There’s this emotional, intense quality to Flamenco which I don’t think you find with a lot of other dances,” Thomás said.

Kolinski scheduled the workshop as part of a series of unique genres of dance. This semester, there were also workshops in Capoeira and Afro-Trinidad Soca, dance student Yana Gitelman (10) said. The workshops focus on types of dance that students may not have studied, Kolinski said.

“The goal is to expose students to a culturally specific form of dance and art and to the culture that it’s from,” Thomás said.

Flamenco dancing is a complicated form of rhythmic dance that originated in Southern Spain. It uses a unique style of heel work and clapping to add percussion into a proud, emotional dance that conveys confidence, beauty, and power, Spanish teacher Susan Carnochan, who attended the workshop, said. Unique Flamenco guitar and singing usually accompany the dance, she said.

“The thing with Flamenco is that it is very sophisticated in the rhythm,” World Languages Department Chair Maria del Pilar Valencia said. “It moves me in a kind of weird, mysterious way because it’s really powerful,” she said.

The workshop began with an introduction to Flamenco, and then focused on palmas, or rhythmic hand clapping, as a way of familiarizing students with Flamenco rhythm, Thomás said.

After establishing a basic understanding of Palmas, Thomás used the rhythm to teach basic footwork patterns and motions. Towards the end of the workshop, the students put together their dancing, clapping, and new understanding into a brief choreographed dance combination.

Gitelman chose this workshop because she had taken classes in Flamenco when she was younger but wanted to improve, she said. Although the workshop was open to all students, Dance PE students, such as Gitelman, are required to attend one workshop per semester, she said.

Isabel Mignone (11) found the skills she had learned in Dance PE useful in the class. “It was an excellent opportunity for everyone involved,” she said.

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Flamenco dancer visits school during workshop