Latinx Heritage Month dances to a close

FlamencoDancing__LornaCummingsEDITEDBy Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

This past Wednesday, Oct. 16,  the Department of World Languages and Cultures, in collaboration with the William James Forum, invited Flamenco dancers Meira Goldberg and Nelida Tirado, and  guitarist Hector Marquez from to Washington College for a special Flamenco recital to close out Latinx Heritage Month.

“I wanted to celebrate the Latinx Heritage Month 2019 with not just research, but also music and dance,” Dr. Elena Deanda-Camacho, associate professor of Spanish, said.

“In the department of World Languages and Cultures we have an experiential component that seeks to expose our students to cultural experiences in Spanish-speaking cultures. This event sought to provide that cultural experience by offering a dancing workshop and an interactive music recital,” she said.

The program was separated into two parts throughout the day. First, an interactive dance workshop where students and staff members could learn some Flamenco moves, and then a Flamenco recital that night in Tawes Theatre.

The WC community not only got the opportunity to learn how to dance in the Flamenco style, but also got the chance to explore the history behind the moves.

“Flamenco is a traditional dance from Southern Spain (Andalusia) that mixes singing, poetry, guitar, and dance,” Dr. Deanda-Camacho said.

“A flamenco recital includes dancers, a guitarist, and a singer. Dancers show a rhythmic movement of their feet and move their hands and arms accordingly,” she said.

“Flamenco originated in 1850, where Spain was a part of the Afro-Islamic world for over eight hundred years,” Meria Goldberg said.

Goldberg was one of the featured dancers at the recital working in collaboration with the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York University’s Foundation for the Iberian Music.

“When the Age of Exploration began, other cultures from countries across the ocean, such as Hispanola, Flamenco began to come together, and flowed back and forth into the live tradition we know today,” she said.

The workshop took place from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Egg at Hodson Hall, with Goldberg and Tirado teaching WC students and faculty basic Flamenco dance steps, such as stamping and tapping with the feet, eccentric hand and arm movements, and incorporating the whole body to the beat of the music.

Tirado was the other featured Flamanco dancer and is an internationally acclaimed Broadway dancer.

The workshop itself aimed to introduce students and faculty members not only to basic Flamenco dance steps and movements, but also to a dance that has become widespread across many different cultures around the world.

The recital, which followed the workshop at 6:15 p.m. in Tawes, provided a demonstration of how Flamenco dancing incorporates the rhythm and flow of the music with the movements taught in the class, but placed in front of an audience and on-stage.

“[From this recital] students have experienced one of the most passionate dances in Spanish-speaking culture, the beauty and complexity of Spanish culture, and will gain more appreciation of Spanish-speaking cultures, which is the goal of the annual Latinx Heritage Month,” Dr. Deanda-Camacho said.

“Because Flamenco is a live tradition, it’s always changing,” Tirado said.

“It keeps evolving not just with the changing times as well as with its technique,” she said.

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