El Jaleo de Verano

El Jaleo de Verano, July 26, 2009 – Recap and Pics
Capilano Performing Arts Theatre in North Vancouver
By Kasandra “La China”

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-01-2009Congratulations to all of our students on a job well done!

It has been a few days since “El Jaleo de Verano” and I have been writing and receiving congratulatory and consolation emails. Ah yes, the wind down after a big performance. The excitement is over but the analyzing and over-analyzing begins.

Alas, all our months of preparation was over and done in 2 hours.  It is always sad when a performance is over because no one knows quite what to do with themselves.  Dance is like that.  It is an art form that is “live” and “in the moment”.  Moments can never quite be captured on film or video. It is elusive, ethereal, transient.

I am very proud of all of our students.  Usually it is the gutsiest and boldest that end up performing, but it is a battle for some.  A lot of people go through insecurities prior to a show and really have to pump themselves and puff themselves up.   It is not very usual for Canadians in particular to be bold, arrogant or give airs.  On the contrary.  Canadians are nice, humble and polite.  This is to our flamenco detriment.  The last couple weeks of class, I had to give some bravado lessons and get people to walk around like a matador in class.  Then I had to teach people to have more aggression.

Bravado Lesson:
Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-09-2009“If you’re about to get into a bar brawl, how are you going to stand?” My students just laugh at me, “We don’t go to bars.” Well, Dang, can’t you just pretend?!  Use your imagination.  Well?  If you’re going to get into a fight your body tenses up, you isometrically constrict all muscles, you stand forward not limp, you move your body weight into a balanced and forward position, then you stand taller and bigger to intimidate the enemy. That’s what flamenco feels like.  (I would say most should just take a flip through some girly Glamour or Elle magazines and look at how women models stand.  Girl Power.  Go see Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider or revisit the recent Charlie’s Angels.)

A special CONGRATULATIONS to all of our Introduction students who performed Tangos!  For most it was their first theatre performance ever and first time dancing in public.  It was a great social bonding experience and a great inauguration into the art form of Flamenco Dance.  Yes, it is FUN and very addictive.

For me as an instructor, it is always rewarding to see my students perform and do their very best. It is literally months of preparation for a few minutes of glory…and it is all over in an instant.  Afterwards, we all feel an emptiness in our lives.  Boredom sets in as we wait for the next performance!

The next one is at the Norman Rothstein Theatre on Sunday December 13, 2009!  Be there or be a ballerina!

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-02-2009My introduction class doing Tango de Triana. Congrats!

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-03-2009 Peteneras with Bata de Cola and Manton. In Spain there is a superstition about Peteneras, so it is rarely performed. We don’t believe in that, so Juan de Marias arranged our music including letras and guitar falsettas.

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-08-2009Special Cameo “La Luna del Cielo” by Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre. People tell me this was the highlight of the show. We ended off the night with with my Solea por Bulerias solo and our bulerias trio. If people were dozing off, we certainly knocked them out of their rockers. In this photo, you can see Shyiang Strong, Michelle Harding and myself (Kasandra La China) centre stage. These girls are eternal flamencas and my flamenco puro best.

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-07-2009Oscar Nieto performs a castanet symphony with his class!

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-06-2009Estilo de Mujer class did not disappoint, as they performed a lively Alegrias. It was a HUGE dance at 8-9 minutes.

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-05-2009Andrea’s Soleares class. They were tight…physically and artistically!

Mozaico-Jaleo-Verano-04-2009Solea con coraje. This class did a bang up job on the Solea and really pushed their technical level. Good job, everybody! The contras rocked.

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