The Deerfield community welcomed four talented Flamenco artists to perform on behalf of the Spanish Department several weeks ago.
Flamenco, a dance that typically includes singing, guitar playing and dancing, originated in Spain and has roots dating back to 1774. Since then, its popularity has spread all around the globe as it surfaced in many non-Hispanic countries such as Japan and the United States.
As this is the second year Deerfield has the honor to host such a talent group, all involved authorities wanted to ensure a warm welcome for the dancers as they debuted in the Hess Auditorium. It was back in 2014 when Language Teacher Cheri Karbon visited Granada. While visiting Spain she met Pilar, Jorge, Sanda and Paco, the four members who make up the Flamenco dance troupe who visited campus during late April.
Ms. Karbon recounted the steps it took to invite the dance group: “Mr. Flaska came to visit us in Granada and I took him to see their show. He loved it! He asked me if I thought there would be any way to bring the Flamenco dance troupe to Deerfield. As a result, I asked them if they might be able to spend a week performing and offering workshops at Deerfield. They loved the idea.”
Once the quartet took the stage, they mesmerized the entire community with their performance.
Ms. Karbon further added, “Flamenco is such a beautiful and traditional art form, full of passion and history. It was so wonderful to be able to share that with the community.”
Students in various language classes, primarily French and Spanish, were given the opportunity to dance with the Flamenco dancers instead of having their regular Spanish class. Flamenco dancing is very focused on detailed hand and feet movements. Students reflected that it was hard to coordinate their body movements to the unfamiliar dance genre.
Christina Halloran ’20 remarked, “It was so hard to coordinate the tapping of my feet with the clapping of my hands and keep track of all of the dance moves. Although the dancing was hard to learn, it was a lot of fun!”
Another student who took part in the practice, Jarod Harrington ‘20 commented: “Paco was the one who led the dance; I remember he was a very talented and patient teacher. Not only did he understood where we were coming from because it was completely new for us, He was also trilingual which made it so much easier since we took French. In terms of the dance, it was compelling yet unusual. You needed special shoes to dance.”
The same class was introduced to members of the dance ensembles.
Gigi Deinard, member of the Advanced Dance Ensemble, said, “It’s unlike any style we’ve learned. The amount of details we have to focus on is insane. I had to pay attention to rotating my hands and tapping my feet.”
The dancers that came to Deerfield were not only exceptional in their dancing ability but also eager to share aspects of their culture with the Deerfield community. From Spanish lessons during class to the presentation clothing and props, students were allowed a glimpse into the unique traditions of Flamenco and aspects of the culture it stemmed from.