Always Be Dancing Expressive Arts

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body


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Mindful Book Reviews by Eve: Nutcracker Mice by Kristin Kladstrup; Illustrations by Brett Helquist

IMG_0548Just in time for the holiday season, comes a soon-to-be classic retelling of the Nutcracker. In this version, the mice live their animated lives right along side the humans at the Marinsky Theater, the historic theatre of opera and ballet in Saint Petersburg, Russia, living in the walls, scavenging for food and dancing ballet. Author Kristin Kladstrup has created an enchanting version of the Nutcracker from the mice’s point of view, bringing the mice to the forefront, and switching around the roles within the story so that mice are the heroes of main characters.

Fun mouse facts are included: Mice do not like peppermint. Mice have fun names such as: Herr Drosselmouse, Esmerelda and Maksim– so much fun to say out loud, as they tickle your tongue and your ear with the sounds of foreign lands. The accompanying drawings by Brett Helquist are wonderfully expressive and reminiscent of other children’s classics such as Charlotte’s Webb and Harriet The Spy0763685194.int.1

This is an instant holiday classic and with the included mouse-centric script at the back of the book, will be great for the young balletomane’s collection (I can imagine it being used by budding choreographers.)

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me a copy of this delightful book. All opinions expressed are my own.

Balletomane

Dimensional paper are by my mother, Amelia Robin Gloss of the  infanta from Pavo and The Princess by  Evaline Ness.

 

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Book Reviews by Eve: Boys Dancing by George Ancona & Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle

Book Reviews by Eve: Two books from Candlewick Press that highlight dance and rhythm are Boys Dancing by George Ancona & Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle.

IMG_9070Boys Dancing by George Ancona is the second book I know by the author, the first being ¡Olé! Flamenco, which is another great non-fiction book about dance. Both books include fun photo illustrations that really highlight the story. In Boys Dancing, I like the foot step pattern that leads you through the pages of the book. These kids faces really tell the whole story. They are so engaging and engaged. You can see form their faces their focus, determination and joy at dancing. The instructor is equally connected and together they learn about dancing with their bodies, minds and energies. This story shows the dedicated dancers and teachers and how a whole production comes together, from school gym to studio to stage. Dance is for boys. It is community building and the story shows how hard work is fun and rewarding. ¡Olé!

IMG_9068Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle lives up to its name as a great choice of onomatopoeia for a rain storm. The delightful illustrations by G. Brian Karas are a cross between photo realism and sweet cartoonish images. The reader not only looks at the scenes, but also up and down and from within them. You feel like one of the pack of people escaping the rain storm! This is a very engaging and entertaining story that promotes community, friendship and the love of a good rain storm!

Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me these books. All opinions are my own.


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¡Olé Namaste!

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Pictured above from top left: Two students strike a pose, Hurley School, Boston; Eve Costarelli (AKA Eva Lorca); Students learning palmas at St. Stephens after-school program, Boston, MA; Visual representations of flamenco; Antonio Tiriti and Eve performing at the Natick Farmer’s Market; Students performing the story of Ferdinand The Bull; Eve teaching how braseo to students of St. Stephen’s after-school program, Boston, MA; Eve and some students. (Thank you to Celebrity Series and Robert Torres for the pictures of Eve and St. Stephen’s)

I am a flamenco dancer. Through this dance, I communicate my kinship to the gypsies, a group of wanderers/nomads/pilgrims who migrated from Northern India during the 8th and 9th centuries. One route that they took was through Saudi Arabia and Northern Africa, before arriving in Spain through the Straits of Gibraltar. These gypsies were comprised of expert metal workers, animal tenders and entertainers. They arrived in Spain when the country was controlled by the Moors (made up of Arabs, Syrians and Berbers). In Spain, the gypsies mixed freely amongst the veritable melting pot of cultures. In Andalucía, a region in Southern Spain known as the birth place of flamenco, the gypsies found a land that suited them and found a sense of connection with the people who lived there: the Jews, the Moors and the Spaniards. The gypsies absorbed the diverse cultures around them: the music of the Moors, the songs of the Sephardic Jews and the dances of the Spaniards and then coupled with their heritage from India, they transformed the music, song and dance into the art of flamenco.

GypsyRoute

My journey to become a flamenco dancer has been a deeply personal artistic pursuit. I have found that the greatest joy of flamenco is discovering my interpretation and style within the art form. As a flamenco dancer, I possess the capacity for self-controlled passion and emotional expression which becomes the underlying energy which motivates me to dance. This is my life force, my soul, my chi, my prana. Duende, the passion and inspiration within, is the heart of the flamenco artist. It is the transfer of emotions across space. It is the energetic imprint of the raw emotion released as a result of a performer’s intense emotional involvement with the music, song and dance. It is in the sum the energy the dancer takes from the earth, drawing it up through the soles of their feet. It travels through the body electrifying the the base, the core, the heart and shines forth through the crown of her head.

It is in this sensation filled space that I find the connection between flamenco and yoga. I speculate that the gypsies created the movements in flamenco directly in correlation to the yoga body. The energy centers, the chakras, directly speaking to the emotional output of the artist. I believe that the gypsies brought with them an underlying understanding of yoga and that this physical, emotional and spiritual connection to the body was then naturally incorporated into flamenco’s expression. It is fascinating to teach flamenco under the label of mindfulness. I incorporate it (plus a smattering of other rhythmic and contemplative movement forms) into all of my youth yoga classes. I find that flamenco is a perfect addition as its many benefits go hand-in-hand with the benefits of yoga.

Flamenco and Yoga both:

  • Stimulate memory, thinking and retention
  • Increase the ability to focus, listen, observe and absorb
  • Reduce Stress
  • Strengthen the heart muscle, both physically and emotionally
  • Increase positive energy
  • Develop balance, flexibility and coordination
  • Strengthen confidence, patience and risk taking skills
  • Build community
  • Deepen sense of self
  • Expand world view
  • Heighten happiness
  • Help you get in touch with your emotions and give you a safe outlet for their release
  • Cultivate accessibility, adaptability and inclusivity

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 blossom….now 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.”

My favorite part about teaching is sharing my love of movement and making both the arts of flamenco and yoga accessible. Yoga is not one tangible thing. It is not movement; it is not breath; it is not meditation. What it is, is all of these things. Each of these elements leaves an energetic imprint, a vibrational frequency on the person, and that is the yoga. I love both yoga and flamenco in my life and I live to share them. With each personal exploration of my own energy’s movement, I teach. Yoga and flamenco are deeply connected to my soul, and I am constantly evolving. I choreograph the dance between effort and surrender. I find such joy in these sensations. All I want to do is to share them with my students.


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The Spain of Granados in Music and Dance

Dear Friends of the Arts,
I am proud to announce that the Boston Arts Consort and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education are presenting the music of Enrique Granados at ArtWeek Boston.
            
THE BOSTON ARTS CONSORT
                                       & THE CAMBRIDGE CENTER FOR ADULT EDUCATION
                                                                             PRESENT

 Join the Boston Arts Consort and the Cambridge Center for Adult Education for an evening of uniquely Spanish music, art, and food in celebration of the great Catalan composer Enríque Granados.  Hear some of  his  most famous works;  get a glimpse of the artwork of Francisco de Goya whose paintings inspired Granados’ greatest pieces; and learn about the composer’s dramatic life story through specially-selected photographs from the Museu de la Música in Barcelona. We’ll  begin the evening by enjoying authentic sangria and “bocaditos” (little tapas) prepared by personal  chef and Spanish culinary expert Luis de Haro. 
 
With Margarita Campos, Barcelona University lecturer; Eve Costarelli, Interpretive Spanish dance; Christian Figueroa, tenor, Liz Leehey, clarinet; Ed Milan, dramatist; Linda Papatopoli. pianist and director; Clara Sandler, mezzo-soprano; Devin Ulibarri, Spanish classical guitar
 
 
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016
  PRE-CONCERT  RECEPTION 6-7PM    CONCERT 7:30-9PM
 
SPEIGAL AUDITORIUM
56 BRATTLE STREET, HARVARD SQUARE, CAMBRIDGE MA 02138
 

                 $15 ADMISSION,    PAYMENT THROUGH BROWN PAPER TICKETS
                                                         http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2592423                                 
                                     For  more 
information call 617-666-7973

Friday September 30, 2016
6:00-7:00PM Pre-concert reception with authentic sangria & bocaditos.
7:30PM Concert
$15/admission
Please purchase tickets for the Boston Arts Consort in The Spain of Granados In Music And Dance


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Dance In The Schools 2016: Baldwin School Wrap-Up

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

YOGA: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1IKRDDtAAfwcO4vL3EmU381SCi8YEGRAY0g2X2FOlk0o/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.


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My Review of Compañía Rocío Molina “Danzaora & Vinática

lcr-danzaora-rocio-molina-drinking_360Rocio 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. Webtxt-Danzaora-FÉLIX-VÁZQUEZ-ROCIO-MOLINA-FOTOS_0610

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.danzaora

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


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Book Review: Stomp The Ground Build A Home by Susan Daniel Fayad

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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!

How To 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.