Cue in Dance In The Schools 2016!
I had the ultimate pleasure of working again with the Maria Baldwin School in Cambridge for this year’s Dance In The Schools Month. I began forging a relationship with the second grade teacher’s 6 years ago and it only keeps getting better each year I go back. This year I had the extra enjoyment of bringing not only my yoga program but I also brought flamenco to the music classes. Together these two classes make up the basis for Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement. This opened up a whole new angle to me for bringing mindfulness into this school. Pairing me up with the music teacher only enriched my musical knowledge, so it was truly a win-win situation for all! The second graders received a veritable cornucopia of mindfulness through dancing, Yoga posing, breathing, and meditating.The positive responses I gathered from the students and the teachers were full of positive remarks and full of enjoyment.
Please comment on what worked regarding the content of this program, e.g., use of theme, connection of movement/dance to curriculum, etc. Did you or the Classroom Teacher notice any changes in any of the students’ behavior, focus, ability to do whatever you were teaching? Please describe if possible.
The kids were all so connected to learning-it is a great environment. The staff and kids are very engaged and even the few children who are on the spectrum or emotionally developing interact with the group and learn alongside their peers. I often work with special needs and other high risk populations and I have developed a compassionate and effective way of bringing what I am teaching to these groups. I appreciated that every student tried what I offered to them. The music students learned about the history of flamenco and the gypsies, styles of flamenco, the emotional content of flamenco, the art of clapping, singing, dancing rhythmically and also rhythmic footwork. In yoga, we used the basics of yoga, breath-work, poses and meditation, to reinforce emotional control. In the end, they students created a book for me which reinforced their engagement with both my yoga and flamenco classes.
Did you share any materials, resources, music, ideas, props with the Classroom Teacher so they could continue after your last session? If so, what?
MUSIC: I sent a musical link and we made a video of our dance. I also created a special document that gave the history of flamenco and wrote out a simplified version of the choreography for reference.
Here is the document I created for music: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1gpZnnLeYRu33aZqIooSvV5tm7mTxjAdOMu_qOCr_HEo/edit?usp=sharing
Describe the nature of your collaboration with your Classroom Teacher – before your sessions (interaction with teacher, co–planning of materials, other), during your sessions (co-teaching, assessing the process, altering plans), after you finished (examples of follow-up lessons created by you and/or the Classroom Teacher, other)
MUSIC: After reaching out to the music teacher, he sent me some ideas for how we could collaborate his music and my dance class, which really helped me to mold my program.
We came up with:
*Phrase *Form *Different rhythmic values *Dynamics (volume) *Improvisation/Composition
We worked with each throughout the classes, him adding in his teaching methodology (using the Takadimi system) which opened my eyes to new ways of being able to teach ideas and my own creative style of teaching which only enhanced his system.
YOGA: I was in contact with the two second grade teachers prior to my visit. They asked me to work with their students on Socio-Emotional learning and the executive functions, to enable a string and fruitful learning environment for all. I mapped out 4 programs that I would use as the basis of the 4 sessions.
Eve’s Awesome Yoga Day one was about using yoga to calm the body, mind and energy and playing with the differences between silence and non-silence, which can mean vocally, mentally and physically. Here I also taught about the brain and the concept of neuro-plasticity; Day two, healthy eating; Day three, Rhythm and movement; Day four, Cooperation.
Do you feel/think you were effective? Why/why not? What did you learn? What challenges did you face? (This is a food for thought question, not judging or criticizing you.
MUSIC: This was extremely effective. Every time I came into the room, the kids all brightened up and beamed, totally ready to dance/do yoga. I could see in their faces their joy! I loved learning about Takadimi as it brings in a Kathak element to my Flamenco teaching, as Kathak is seen as one of the roots of Flamenco.
YOGA: The kids learn in a very short amount of time about how they can control their brains, that brains change, how to be strong, focused and self-effective. How to work by themselves and cooperate in a group. How to be still and to move; to be quiet and loud; to be fast and slow. They learn about emotional control and how they can learn in a different environment than they are usually presented with.
Rocio Molina, no words can describe what I saw, heard and felt when you performed. I can only say wine, broken glass, rag doll and tambourine. You are flamenco in every strand of your being, pure essence, pure light. My soul cannot thank yours enough.
From the first time I experienced you, when you danced inside the box (we just call it the box dance) I knew for sure you were the epitome of flamenco for me. Your body is so full of expression. You morph between the flamenco of yesterday, the flamenco of today and the flamenco of the future, bringing in a kaleidoscope of rhythms, emotions and energy. Intense movement, sparkling energy, grounded down deep into the floor to sudden statue-like stillness, but even within that moment of absolute peace, life is emanating from your pounding heartbeat and the trails of energy that remain from what came before.
Presenting Danzaora & Vinática as part of World Music/CrashArts 2016 Flamenco Festival, Rocio Molina, along with singer and mandola José Angel Carmona, guitarist Eduardo Trassierra and palmas and percussionist José Guerrero “Tremendo”, has created a show that allows her unique artistic voice to be heard loud and clear, so that it is cannot be confused with any other danceable language. To say she is the perfect flamenco dancer would to be putting Ms. Molina in a box. No, she is all dance, not just the Spanish arts such as flamenco and Spanish classical but also crump, tap, African, yoga, and modern. She speaks her own language yet is able to make us comprehend meaning with just a tilt of her head, the stamp of her foot or the long arching back-bend almost touching the floor with the back of her head, bringing to mind Classical Indian movements from Kathak and Bharatanatyam . Ms. Molina embodies effort and ease; fire and ice; the tangible world and the spiritual world.
The show begins with Ms. Molina, standing, at first what seems stock still, center stage, in a beautiful asymmetric dress. The musicians enter, talking, preparing; we the audience enter, talking, shifting, settling. Then as all of our energy stills and our eyes are drawn to her figure on the stage, only then do we notice the glass of wine tilting menacingly in her hand and the long rope in her other hand, wrapped tightly around the neck of an old ceramic jug. In the composition with the lit-up tambourine, Ms. Molina conjurs up Arabia, Egypt and Africa, creating rhythms that just echo the past while shedding light on the future of the possibility of sound. I have not seen anyone play the tambourine like this since a night, long ago, when Simon Shaheen, oud and violin virtuoso, introduced me to the intricate rhythmic ability of the tambourine’s skin and bells.
For Ms. Molina, everything has the possibility of creating rhythm. Her feet as they strike the floor, an old jug being dragged, breaking glass, a wine bottle being struck repeatedly like an anvil, and inevitably the gritty sound of broken glass crushing underfoot. It was so dramatic when the artists stood around a table, which seemed actually to be a cajón, and created rhythms with their intense finger rolls, knuckle raps and a flurry of foot stomps. To see Rocio’s face break into a smile when they were in a particular sweet spot, playing off each other, the lines blurred between what they had practiced and what just came up from the spirit of the moment was entrancing. Her face often severe or placid was often punctuated by a radiant smile, giving life to the impish “El Duende”, the spirit who brings to light a heightened state of emotion, expression and genuineness that permeates her soul.
Rocío Molina is the embodiment of flamenco’s past, present and future. She and her company bring together the complex patchwork of flamenco’s history weaving it into new material by bringing with them each their own eclectic blend of musicality, artistry and above all character.
Written by Eve Costarelli for more information http://www.AlwaysBeDancing.com
Book Review: Stomp The ground Build A Home by Susan Daniel Fayad with Illustrations by Jayamini Attanayake
This book is a beautiful representation of the intangible cultural heritage inherent to Lebanon in the form of the dance, the dabke. Through bright, exciting illustrations and positive affirmations, this book teaches you to love yourself, to love your community and to be proud of your roots. I appreciate so much the showing of how an extended family takes care to raise the children and how the wisdom of elders can be made into the future. We can all learn something from the beautiful message of compassion and love. “Al-Awneh,” (let’s go and help)- we can all learn to dance the dabke!
Full Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of Stomp The Ground Build A Home to review. All opinions expressed are my own.
WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts PRESENTS
Direct from Spain
FLAMENCO FESTIVAL 2016
Featuring Spain’s foremost dancers and musicians
March 5 & 6, 19 & 20, 2016
Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston
Saturday, March 5, 8pm – $60, $50, $40, $32
Latin Grammy–winning Vicente Amigo is known as one of today’s most dazzling flamenco guitarists and a likely successor to Paco de Lucía. Hailing from Córdoba, Spain, Amigo is at the forefront of a new generation of flamenco performers, steeped in the classic style while constantly innovating within the tradition.
Performing the Boston premiere of Improvisao
BOSTON PREMIERE WORK
Sunday, March 6, 7:30pm – $79, $65, $52, $40
From the legendary Farruco dynasty, the first family of Gypsy flamenco dance, Farruquito is regarded as one of the most faithful representatives of flamenco puro. His new show, Improvisao, is a work of intimate, authentic, and visceral flamenco, which Farruquito calls “a return to my roots.” He will be accompanied by guest dancer Gema Moneo, four singers, two guitarists, and a percussionist.
Performing the Boston premiere of Danzaora & Vinática
BOSTON PREMIERE WORK
Saturday, March 19, 8pm – $79, $65, $52, $40
Rocío Molina is at the forefront of modern flamenco and has been awarded many of Spain’s top accolades, including National Dancer of the Year. Considered “one of the finest soloists in the world today” (The New York Times), she performs the Boston premiere of Danzaora & Vinática, a thrilling work with live musical accompaniment.
ROSARIO “LA TREMENDITA” & MOHAMMAD MOTAMEDI
Qasida Flamenco meets Persian classical music
BOSTON DEBUT/ BOSTON PREMIERE WORK
Sunday, March 20, 7:30pm – $48, $42, $37, $30
The Qasida project is an extraordinary musical encounter between the young Spanish singer Rosario “La Tremendita” and her Iranian peer Mohammad Motamedi. Renowned for accompanying flamenco dancers Belén Maya, Rocío Molina, Rafaela Carrasco, and many others, “La Tremendita” explores the roots of flamenco in the richly varied poetic songs and improvisations of Motamedi, the young rising star of Persian classical music. They will be accompanied by six musicians on guitar, Iranian kemanche (a bowed string instrument), percussion, and palmas (hand clapping).
I have been teaching youth of all ages and abilities to dance flamenco and practice yoga for 20 years and I so appreciate Joanne Lara and Keri Bowers’ Autism Movement Therapy Method. They have laid out a very practical approach to teaching dance technique and choreography to people on the autism spectrum that is fun, empowering and fully sensory integrated. AMTM helps to develop essential social and emotional skills along with memory retention, focus, relaxation and the physical skills such as coordination and rhythm. Through the dance classes, which create a community of inclusion, the students experience positive social interactions, leading to increased self-esteem, better emotional control and an overall sense of belonging and pride. The book is well laid out with easy to follow instructions and the key skills being taught are highlighted in boxes.
I plan to integrate the lesson plans into my own teachings, especially the using the “dot” concept as a home base, so that each student will know their place in the class which will give them a very simple, clear and safe home base. AMTM is not afraid to raise the bar of expectations and presume competence. Ms’ Lara & Bowers believe that each person will be able to embody their learnings, cooperate, take on leadership roles and be able to take their knowledge out of the dance class and into the world. With is clearly definable goals and easy to follow strategies, Autism Movement Therapy Method, is a whole-brain cognitive thinking approach that can significantly improve emotional, physical and social skills for all students.
I highly recommend Autism Movement Therapy Method for all dance teachers, studios and anybody who works teaching movement, as dance should be available to everyone. AMTM is a kind and respectful method to bring the art of dance to people of all abilities.
Full Disclosure: The authors provided me with a copy of Autism Movement Therapy Method to review. All opinions expressed are my own.
LIZT ALFONSO DANCE CUBA
Saturday, November 7, 8pm
Sunday, November 8, 3pm
$79, $65, $50, $40 Reserved seating
(includes Cutler Majestic Theatre $1.50 restoration fee)
Emerson/Cutler Majestic Theatre (wheelchair symbol)
219 Tremont St., Boston
Founded and directed by dancer-choreographer Lizt Alfonso, Havana-based Dance Cuba features 25 beautiful and technically superb dancers and live musicians, capturing the heart and soul of Cuba with music and dance from the ’50s to today. The award-winning company performs the Boston premiere of Cuba Vibra, a riveting, highly sensual display of Afro-Cuban dance, including the cha-cha-cha, mambo, rumba, conga, bolero, and more.
PACO PEÑA FLAMENCO DANCE COMPANY
Performing the Boston premiere of Flamencura
Sunday, November 15, 7:30pm
$58, $48, $37, $30 Reserved seating
(includes Berklee $1 restoration fee)
Berklee Performance Center (wheelchair symbol)
136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston
Exceptional flamenco dancers and a sensational band of musicians and virtuoso singers come together in Flamencura, a new production from legendary flamenco guitarist Paco Peña. Packed with intensity, depth, and raw energy, Flamencura is grounded in the present but also pays tribute to flamenco’s rich heritage.
THIS IS TANGO NOW
Friday, November 20, 8pm
Saturday, November 21, 8pm
Sunday, November 22, 3pm
$40 Reserved seating
$36 World Music/CRASHarts members
The Institute of Contemporary Art (wheelchair symbol)
100 Northern Ave., Boston
Formed by renowned, Tony-winning tango artists Fernanda Ghi and Guillermo Merlo and musician Alfredo Minetti, This Is Tango Now represents a unique approach to tango, reflecting an unconditional passion for the art form. Featuring a stellar company of 12 dancers and musicians performing the world premiere of Carmen . . . de Buenos Aires, this breathtaking new production of Carmen blends tango and flamenco with an original score based on Bizet’s beloved melodies.
Free preperformance talks with Boston Dance Alliance Executive Director, Debra Cash, 30 minutes prior to curtain in the ICA lobby.
Free post-performance Q&A with the company Friday, November 20.