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San Rafael, California 94901
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Flamenco with Sara Moncada at Dance Palace

“This was the most engaged that I have seen students yet!” –Chris Grace, Dance Palace

Flamenco dancers Sara Moncada and Damien Alvarez, along with Clara Rodriquez on vocals, and guitarist David McLean, entertained and engaged hundreds of students from throughout West Marin at the Dance Palace. Students watched the dancers, listened to the beautiful music of Andalucia Spain, and even practiced the rhythms as well. Students learned about the nomadic life of the gypsies who travelled the region sharing their music and dance and inspiring an international movement.

The Shawl Dance: Sara explained how shawls from Manilla were imported, and then personalized with long fringe before they were incorporated into their own Flamenco dances.

More than 80 students stayed after the assembly to learn even more from Sara with a hands-on workshop to practice a short choreographed piece together.

A special thank you to the California Arts Council for their support of this program!

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Fiesta del Sol! Flamenco!

Students and teachers of Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael celebrated the end of the year with their families and community at their annual Fiesta del Sol!

The students were given the spotlight and took the stage to showcase their new flamenco dance skills as the culminating event from their YIA spring arts residency with Bay Area artist Sara Moncada.

TK thru 5th grades shared art, music and dance with all of their communities! It was a great day, thank you Laurel Dell!

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This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. 

Olé! Flamenco at Laurel Dell Elementary School

IMG_4542file2By Mentor Artist Sara Moncada

The teachers and students at Laurel Dell Elementary School in San Rafael have spent the spring season immersed in the strength and beauty of flamenco music and dance. Over the past 12 weeks every class, from TK to 5th grade, has had the opportunity to learn about the relationship between musicians and dancers, different palos or rhythms of flamenco, discuss and try different flamenco accessories or “tools” such as the bata de cola – the long train skirt – and also explore the role of cultural dance as a way of preserving traditions and sharing diverse cultures with community.

On top of it all, it has been an amazing time working with each class on their dancing and each class is getting ready to share their new flamenco skills in a full school performance for friends and family celebrating the end of their school year! Ole´!
#youthinarts #flamencodance #kidsdance

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This activity is supported in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency. 

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We Traveled the World!

Last week, the students and faculty of Ross School joined Youth in Arts Mentor Artists on a colorful world journey through the performing arts!  We “traveled” through North America, Asia, South America and Europe, participating in art forms from each region. The school was set up with a “station” for each region and students traveled from place to place in their class groups.

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Eddie Madril and Sara Moncada

In North America, Eddie Madril and Sara Moncada shared traditions and dances of the Plains Indians.  Sara performed a Fancy Shawl dance for women and Eddie shared the Hoop Dance and even gave students a chance to work a little with the Hoop themselves!  The program was a unique opportunity to learn about the cultural contexts in which these dances are performed and the significance of Plains Indian ceremonial practices and intricately made regalia.

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Jim Santi Owen and William Rossel

During our time in Asia, William Rossel and Jim Santi Owen gave a stunning demonstration of Indian tablas and how the rhythms are connected to language. Students learned about the special way that tablas are made, in order to produce multiple tones, but also discovered that most drums can produce a “high” or “low” tone.  They then had an opportunity to play a variety of drums, learning traditional rhythmic patterns.

Arlecchino

Keiko Shimosato Carreiro and Ed Holmes as Columbina and Arlecchino

Arriving in Europe, students were introduced to traditional characters from Italian Commedia dell’Arte. Theater artists Keiko Shimosato Carreiro and Ed Holmes took on the roles of Columbina, the clever kitchen maid; Arlecchino, the comic clown; Pulcinella, the gluttonous dullard; and Capitano, the cowardly braggart, as they demonstrated Commedia elements such as a lazzi (a comic “bit” that a company would build into all its shows) or the slapstick (a noisemaker used in mock fights and the origin of the term “slapstick comedy”). Students practiced becoming characters like the know-it-all Dottore and the treacherous Brighella.

Stephanie Bastos and Jules Hilson

Stephanie Bastos and Jules Hilson

In South America, dance artist Stephanie Bastos taught students the joyful samba reggae dance from Brazil accompanied by percussionist Jules Hilson. As a mid-day treat, Stephanie, Jules and fellow artists from Aguas da Bahia dance company transported the whole school to the streets of Brazil during Carnival with a lively assembly performance. Led by Artistic Director Tania Santiago, the group showed off swirling skirts, rhythm sticks and more as they performed maculele and other beautiful dances.  The audience was stunned by a beautiful samba dancer on stilts, and then joined in for a final samba reggae dance-along.

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Dancers from Aguas da Bahia

A special surprise for the audience!

A special surprise for the audience!

On behalf of Youth in Arts, we would like to thank all of our friends at Ross school for traveling the world with us.  We look forward to our next adventure!