Always Be Dancing

Yoga and Flamenco for Every/body & Mindful Book Reviews By Eve


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: I am Bear & Bear Moves by Ben Bailey Smith

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I Am Bear by Ben Bailey Smith; Illustrated by Sav Akyüz

Bear is a fun-loving, mischief making, goodhearted bear. This beautiful read-aloud picture book, with its beautiful bold and bright graffiti-esque illustrations, is both Rap-able and rhyme-able. I highly recommend this fun book that craftily adds in a solid basis for helping kids build strong language skills. This book is fun, funny and fa-fa-fabulous (wicky-wicky-flash)! Plus, there is a wonderful accompanying (free) music video which only adds to the rocking, rhyming fun. 

Bear Moves by Ben Bailey Smith; Illustrated by Sav Akyüz 616N3FcameL._SX463_BO1,204,203,200_

In this rollicking sequel to I Am Bear, Bear Moves’s narrative combines strong percussive rhythms with fun, descriptive action words and beautiful, bold, graffiti-esque illustrations to encourage the reader to get up and bust-a-move. I call this the ultimate “Rise-and-Shine” book! Everybody, children and adults alike, will have a good hearty laugh at the word play in this fun, laugh-out-loud, shake-your-tail-feather book.
Thank you to Candlewick Press for sending me these books. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Expressive Movement Workshop: ¡Olé Namaste! Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body

Expressive Movement Workshop: ¡Olé Namaste! Yoga & Flamenco for Every/Body Workshop

SUNDAY OCTOBER 28th.

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¡Olé Namaste! Infuses the movements, breathwork and meditation of yoga with the music and dance of flamenco.

This workshop is fully accessible and can be done in a chair or standing and affords participants the opportunity to explore and experience the joy of movement and expression of two arts within a supportive, creative environment, regardless of experience and/or abilities.

Pre-registration encouraged.
$20 pre-registered or $25 at the door.
Register at info@openspiritcenter.org or call 508-877-8162 ​

For more information, please contact Eve Costarelli AdamAnt_Eve@hotmail.com

We will start on mats (or chairs if needed) and move on to dance. Participants may wear hard bottomed shoes or sneakers for the dancing.
Workshop will be held in Edwards Hall at Open Spirit. 39 Edwards Street, Framingham, MA.


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Mindful Book Reviews By Eve: The Dance of Interaction: An Embodied Approach to Nonverbal Communication Training for Caregivers of People with Dementia (Training Manual) by Donna Newman-Bluestein with Meg H. Chang

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I know the author, Donna Newman-Bluestein, through the dance and movement world in Boston, MA and was excited to have a chance to read and learn from her new training manual. Through her Dance For Connection work Donna brings joy, vitality and a sense of interconnectedness to people with dementia through playful, expressive movement and dance via direct programming and training caregivers.

This manual sets out to change the culture of care surrounding people with dementia within nursing home care by using mindfulness, movement and nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions. This manual strives to support caregivers, to help them to awaken their mindful selves, to guide them to trust their intuitions, and to enable them to go forth and shine. Embodied learning is mindfulness in-action and it empowers you to be authentically you so that you can see that every interaction with a person with dementia is an opportunity to build a relationship.

The chapters are carefully laid out and are broken down into easy to follow sections. One page, titled “If You Do Nothing Else…(pg. 77) that I found immensely helpful is a list of go-to strategies to try before approaching a person with dementia. This is a list of lifelines for the caregiver, because we all know “you have to put your air-mask on first before you can help anyone else…” In other words, this is a list of mindful mini’s to increase confidence, joy, and vitality so that caregivers can be at their best, fully aware, present and with self-control.

I highly recommend this work and trainings by Donna Newman-Bluestein. An embodied learning approach can be used caregivers, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, anyone who works with patients with dementia and really any specialty group. This approach will make you curious, compassionate and above all authentic, vibrant and empowered to be the best you and the best caregiver. I love this beautiful, compassionate life line!


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Flamenco Books for Young Readers and To Read Aloud

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  • All About Flamenco/Todos Sobre Flamenco by Silvia Oivo

  • Aunt Elaine Does The Dance From Spain by Leah Komaiko
  • Bird With The Heart Of A Mountain by Barbara Mariconda
  • Flamenco Fantasy by Cynthia Ventrola Struven
  • Lola’s Fandango by Ann Witte
  • Mo Baila Flamenco by Fresia Barrientos Morales 
  • ¡Olé! Flamenco by George Ancona
  • Perlie and The Flamenco Fairy by Wendy Harmer
  • Quiero Bailar Flamenco by Azucena Huidobro
  • Spain by Susie Brooks
  • Spain: The Culture by Noa Lior
  • Thea Stilton and The Spanish Dance Mission by Thea Stilton
  • Today I Am A Dancer by Marisa Polansky
  • With Love From Spain by Carol Weston


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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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Book Review by Eve: The ASD And Me Picture Book by Joel Shaul

IMG_8157 (1)Once again, Joe Shaul hits it out of the park with an accessible, user-friendly book for children on the Autism Spectrum. The book clearly explains, with easy-to-read cartoon/clip art-like illustrations, how we are all different yet all the same and shows how we can quantitatively assess these things thereby gaining insight about ourselves and the world around us paving the way for self- reflection and improved self control.

I love the outlined head-shapes with the visual depictions of thoughts actions and ideas. This makes it so clear and simple. It really helps to delineate differences and similarities so that we can see that we are similar to each other not only by our similarities but also by our differences; we are similar because we are different and by becoming aware of this we will be able to blend all varied modalities together seamlessly, into a world that truly allows everyone their own growth path. This book is great for kids with ASD but it is also great for everyone else to appreciate and learn from. Its especially good for visual learners.

I highly recommend. It is a great tool!

How will I use this book:

As you can see, I was inspired to make visuals of my own thoughts on the sticky notes attached to the book in the heading photo. Inside my head, I have ideas to make accessible flamenco as a way to discover ones true nature. It makes it very clear what I am thinking about and what makes me, me. These are things that I am good at, I feel confident about and I am passionate about expressing within this creative form.

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Full Disclosure: Jessica Kingsely Publishing sent me this book. 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.

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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.