Milla Kerch may only be in kindergarten, but when flamenco music
peals out of the dance studio's speakers, the pint-size Chicagoan
is ready for action. "I love flamenco-the rhythm, the dance moves
and the music!"
Flamenco dancing is one of the most beautiful cultural treasures
to have arrived on Lake Michigan's shores from Spain. It is the
culmination of three forms of artistic expression: Cante (singing),
Guitarra (guitar playing) and Baile (dancing.) Though it originates
in the Andalusia region of southern Spain, flamenco has conquered
the world with its fancy footwork and catchy rhythms.
In its large studio space with arched mirrors, the Flamenco Arts
Center of Chicago, located at 3755 N. Western Ave., strives to
create a warm environment where flamenco thrives as an art form
expressed by people of all ages.
A beginner's class for boys and girls age 7-11 is offered
Tuesday afternoons. Children learn proper technique, basic flamenco
styles, clapping rhythms and songs.
"Children are more flexible learners than adults and they can
pick up the rhythms, lyrics and movements of flamenco the same as
they do for nursery rhymes and 'Simon Says' movements," explains
Kathi Best, the center director.
Parents can have as much fun as kids with this energetic and
expressive art form by taking a class with kids in tow. Head over
to Flamenco Chicago, located at 2914 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.
This flamenco-centered dance school offers classes for adults and
children age 10 and up accompanied by an adult.
Too busy to sign up for weekly classes? Check out "Flamenco for
Kids" (Flamenco Para Niños), a 55-minute instructional DVD
($34.95). Silvia Marín, a dance teacher and director of Compañía El
Flamenco Vive, will have your kids clapping and tapping their feet
to the compass rhythm in this culturally immersive program.
World-famous flamenco singers explain the meaning behind the songs,
and renowned guitarists explain the different strumming styles,
while schoolchildren from Madrid dance, swish their colorful long
skirts and tap their heels to the beat.
• Flamenco Arts Center Chicago
• Flamenco Chicago
Amy Bizzarri is a mom of two living in Logan Square. She also blogs at tiramisumom.com.
See more of Amy's stories here.
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