|by Karen Stelling
Ole! A shout of encouragement given to the bravest, the strongest, the one who makes a connection to self and life. I thought I’d start my first blog post on 4dancers with that particularly Spanish expression and give myself a burst of confidence. (There’s also the term “mierda” which is typically used for good luck but I’ll go with the big “O” for now!)
I’m happy to be here sharing some info and news about flamenco and Spanish dance. My debut in blog land comes at a great time in that the Chicago Flamenco Festival is just winding down and there was plenty to see and hear over the past few weeks. It’s always a neat trick to get great musicians and dancers from Spain into Chicago when the weather is at it’s worst! We aficionados are always telling the artists to “regresa quando es mas caliente!” (come back when it’s warmer!) Thank goodness, the audiences are really warm and welcoming!
A highlight of the many performances was the terrific dancer Concha Jareno, a Madrid native, who is part of the new generation of flamenco dancer’s currently working. It was her first visit to Chicago and she received much high praise. I took a master class with her which was great, and enjoyed the fun material that I’m now trying to pass on to my students. She communicated entirely in Spanish but her movement’s were so clear and her rhythm so steady that the need for translation was an afterthought.
The hallmark of a performer as gifted as Concha is an amazing musicality that allows her to hear the music and move to it in a very rich way, with a vocabulary of steps that beautifully mixes old school with new. Even better, she can teach it so students get it. Que bueno! Many of those who attended her performance were part of the local flamenco scene. Most of them left the theater exclaiming how inspired they were by her dancing and couldn’t wait to get back to the studio or travel to Spain and keep that kind of energy happening. What a great compliment to Concha and isn’t it nice to be reminded that we can still become inspired by great talent and artistry? Ole to that above all.