Always Be Dancing Adaptive Movement:

Yoga, Dance and Mindfulness for Every(body).


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Book Review By Eve: Giant Pumpkin Suite by Melanie Heuiser Hill

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This is a charming read! The characters are delightful and the beautiful sense of community that rises around the growing of the giant pumpkin is a true testament to love they neighbor and brotherly love. The author obviously has a great knowledge of Japanese things as her description of the tea ceremony is so full of rich detail that you can practically smell the tea in the air and feel the warmth as it passes through your lips.

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Also, she brings in the concept of Kintsugi. While most people would likely conceal damages to their pottery, the Japanese art of Kintsugi follows a different philosophy. Rather than disguising the breakage, gold is used to restore the broken item incorporating the damage into its aesthetic, making it part of the object’s history. This theme weaves together most of the book and like the beautiful rivulets of gold in the pottery, we see time and time again how imperfections make us more real, more appealing and even a bit more perfect. In addition, the beautiful mathematically organized music of Bach is the soundtrack to this lovely story! This is a book of substance and is full of practical knowledge! I highly recommend this read to children and families.

Full disclosure: Candlewick Press sent me copy of this book. All opinions are my own.


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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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Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement Retreat

I was invited to teach Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement at a day long retreat at the UCC Edwards Retreat Center for several target teen groups within Framingham High School who have been learning mindfulness skills based on the Benson Henry Institute’s Resilient Youth Curriculum. This retreat was the culminating activity to reinforce their skills and to expose them to other possible tools. There were about 50 English and Spanish speaking students.737157_10152024377000913_5585488161038564618_o

When I first arrived, the students were engaged in a singing/music session with one English speaking teacher and a Spanish interpreter. I was thoroughly amazed at the total engagement of the students in this activity. No one was “sitting out”, no one had pulled away. They were all singing and their body language showed that they were fully relaxed and enjoying themselves. I did not know these kids but I knew this was a special moment and felt my heart reacting.

Next it was my turn to introduce these kids to mindfulness through the arts of flamenco and yoga, a program that I call, Always Be Dancing Mindful Movement. I knew many of the kids understood Spanish better than English so I really pushed myself to speak in Spanish, something I am not very comfortable with. One thing I remember though, from my stay in Grenoble in college, was how helpful and respectful native speakers are if you really give it a try. They can make out most of what you are saying even if its the wrong tense or you do not know the exact word, so I pushed my fears aside and began shakily…”Sólo hablo un poco de español y sé que mi acento es terrible..haha!” That broke the ice and I was off and running.

I so enjoyed being a part of this special day. I want the students to know how much I appreciated them and their willingness to learn. I had the unique opportunity to spend time with about seven of them afterwards and was able to really get into the meat of what makes flamenco flamenco and why I found this art form as a way to express myself artistically and why that was important. It was a great dharma talk on finding something you are passionate about and how to strive for something you love to do. One girl said to me, “Please just teach us what you know. We want to learn.” Now, how beautiful is that?!?!

These kids made me feel very brave. I received a really nice thank you from the organizers, “We want to thank you for an amazing day!  Your energy and talent engaged the kids right from the start. It was the perfect workshop for this group and we loved your blending of culture, dance, meditation, and yoga. Many students  reflected on how the retreat enabled them to let go of their own emotional issues, anxiety for the day.  We appreciate your contributions to creating such a safe retreat for our students.”

Many thanks to Open Spirit Center of Framingham and the Nourishing Teachers, Strengthening Classroom project that keeps opening more and more doors for me to share myself with the students and staff in the Framingham Public Schools.

 

 


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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.

 


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WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts PRESENTS FLAMENCO FESTIVAL 2016

Adobe Photoshop PDF

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

VICENTE AMIGO vicente_sm1

Saturday, March 5, 8pm – $60, $50, $40, $32

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3646/vicente-amigo

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.

 

FARRUQUITO Farruquito 2 by Sophie Mühlenburg

Performing the Boston premiere of Improvisao

BOSTON PREMIERE WORK

Sunday, March 6, 7:30pm – $79, $65, $52, $40

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3656/farruquito

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.

 

ROCÍO MOLINA Bienal

Performing the Boston premiere of Danzaora & Vinática

BOSTON PREMIERE WORK

Saturday, March 19, 8pm – $79, $65, $52, $40

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3666

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 murosariomo_sm2sic

BOSTON DEBUT/ BOSTON PREMIERE WORK

Sunday, March 20, 7:30pm – $48, $42, $37, $30

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3676

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).

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World Music Boston November Featured Performances: Cuban Dance, Flamenco and Tango! ¡Olé!

LIZT ALFONSO DANCE CUBA

LIZT ALFONSO DANCE CUBA

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

 

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/2991/lizt-alfonso-dance-cuba-

 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

PACO PEÑA FLAMENCO DANCE COMPANY

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

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3006/paco-pe%C3%91a-flamenco-dance-company

 

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

 THIS IS TANGO NOW

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

 

http://worldmusic.org/content/event_page/3031/this-is-tango-now

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.