Tuesday, December 14, 2010

a short story (completely random)

Definitely unrelated: a short story by yours truly

“Platanos, tomates, mangos, bananos, limonsillos, mmm mangos muy riccos!!!” Shouted a man from his megaphone while cruising the field in his rusty, blue pick-up truck.  He swerved the truck and parked in front of a small house with a black iron staircase leading to the second floor of the house.  The staircase merged in to a gate made of heart-shaped swirls that created a pattern and sturdy railing where an older woman leaned. 
“Senora, would you like to by some platanos today, you know I’ll give you a special price” said the man as he winked, thinking his suave nature would make the sale.
“Not today, I’m out of money.  I’m sorry but you’ll have to come back another day”, said the lady. 
The man stared at the dirt ground, pensively.  The goofy smile returned to his face and he handed a bunch of plantains to a neighborhood boy to bring up to the senora.
“These are on me,” he said.
“Aye, thank you.  Come back tomorrow, I’m going to need a bunch of your good mangos for my grandson who’s visiting tomorrow.  You know I would never buy from someone else”, said the lady, returning the wink.  
“Don’t worry, I’ll be back.  Have a good day”, and with that the man jumped back in to his pick up and continued selling his truck-full of fruits and vegetables.
            The next morning, Jacqueline woke to the crackling of frying oil.  Her Grandmother was pressing hot plantain slices between two plates to make flat plantain pancakes, perfect for frying!  Waking up from a bad night, Jacqueline was relieved to know that she could still rely on her grandma for making the delicious fried plantains that always started her day off feeling at home, protected, and comforted like the naive child her grandmother still treated her as.  But, she knew better.  And she could still feel that pang in her stomach reminding her that she was no longer the innocent child her grandmother thought she was and that a few fried plantains were not going to make that go away.  All of a sudden, Jacqueline decided she wasn’t hungry anymore and returned to her room quietly as not to let her grandma know she had awake.  She crept back in to bed, easily falling in to a deep sleep in hopes that it would take her mind off of things for a few more hours.   

Sunday, December 12, 2010

a little outdated, but enjoy!


      I recently saw an astounding flamenco performance at MIT, the performance was a fusion of middle eastern music and flamenco dance.  The performance began with a few musical pieces which led to a dance of flamenco influenced belly-dance.  It just goes to show, that two completely different dances can  come together beautifully when you find the similarities between the dances while still having a nice contrast.  The show also included outstanding performances by Nino and Isaac de los Reyes.  The performance was exciting, fast paced, and a good taste of how flamenco performances are in Spain. 

Below is a photo of the Reyes brothers:



Hello all, I am a local Bostonian and wanted to let any of you who are interested know about classes offered close by:
Ramon De Los Reyes offers intermediate and advanced classes at the Dance complex in Cambridge. For information visit:

Eve Agush offers youth flamenco classes. For more information click on classes to the right at:

Sabrina Aviles offers beginner and advanced classes. For more information visit:
       All of these teachers offer have very different teaching styles that anyone can benefit from.  Flamenco classes can be hard to find here in New England, unless you go out and search for them.  These are not all of the teachers here in Boston, but i will continue my search and update you on different classes and teachers that i find.  

Flamenco and American folk come together......what?!?

The band Iron and Wine was started by Sam Beam from South Carolina.  Their first album, The Creek Drank the Cradle, which came out in 2002 was described to be a mix of indie and folk.  Their music can be compared to that of Simon and Garfunkel, Neil Young, and Nick Drake.  That is why I was shocked to find a video of flamenco dancers dancing to an acoustic, very American song by Iron and Wine.  However, after the shock I began to really enjoy the out of the ordinary combination.  The video not only includes great choreography, but also amazing visual and special affects.  For instance notice the cartoon butterflies and swirls created by the dance teacher, dressed in red.
  Who would have ever guessed that such a mix would be possible.  However, I give a lot of credit to the artist for giving a very accurate representation of flamenco.  The dance is beautifully done and shows a lot of cultural aspects of flamenco such as the teacher dancing as well as the students.  Hopefully this video can open the eyes of those of you who enjoy either flamenco or American folky music, to see that cultures with such vast differences can fuse together to create something beautiful.  

El Jaleo

El Jaleo  by John Singer Sargent, 1882
            In the Spanish Cloister section of Boston's local Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, you can find the painting above.  The painting depicts a traditional flamenco dancer surrounded by guitarists and other dancers.  I believe aspects of the painting that make it stand out are the bright colors of the background dancers and the bright shading of the main dancer's skirt.  The painting is called Jaleo which is a word to mean the spontaneous clapping and shouting expressed in flamenco performances.  
            This painting is very important to me because it is a way of capturing and preserving the roots of flamenco.  Flamenco experiences a lot of changes and has been modernized over the years, so it is important to remember its roots.  Also it shows just how wide spread the culture of flamenco is.  I love that the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum is such a significant landmark in my community and that it embraces all different cultures, including the culture of flamenco.  Some day I hope to visit the museum and see one my favorite paintings.
* another plus for those of you who live in Boston, all kids under the age of eighteen are free along with people who have the name "Isabella".  So take a day trip to the Spanish influenced museum and enjoy its variety of paintings and other forms of artwork. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Flamenquera Eve Agush

An interview with flamenco and tap dancer Eve Agush:

Q: what do you think it takes to become a professional dancer? What strengths must a person have to become a professional dancer?
A: You need to have perseverance; you must learn your craft; you must work hard; you must have personal dedication, strength and stamina; you must follow directions well and take corrections and criticisms well; you must learn from the corrections/criticism that you receive; you must take care of your body and your soul (prevent injuries, eat well, meditate, stretch, yoga); you must take as many dance classes as you can and practice;you must shine on stage! You must audition and I guess you would need to have a flexible job. Understand that dancers do not make a lot of money, do not have much artistic freedom, and must love what they do to survive.

Q: what was your motivation to become a dancer?
A: I have never thought of myself as a professional dancer, although I am a professional. I have always thought of ,myself as a professional artist who uses dance as her medium. I love being an artist and was raised by an artist. I did try to become something else but art was just in my soul and I realized I had to recognize it.

Q: When and how did you know that you wanted to dance as a career?
A: The career just came upon me. As i learned more and more dance technique and more about choreography and movement, it led to my desire to show people what I could do. I have always been a natural performer and a natural teacher. Along with being a professional dancer, I am a dance teacher. My career has taken many shapes and forms: being in a company, creating my own choreography, teaching dance, choreographing student companies, working at studios and teaching and choreographing for them. I have now added creating an in-school yoga program, finding grant funding to get the program off the ground and being hired through another grant program to teach dance in the Boston Public School system.

Q: What advice would you give to people who have the same dream of pursuing dance as a career?
A: Follow your dreams and be ready for a wonderful ride. Stay open to all the paths that are presented to you. Find your gurus and learn all that you can. Make sure you are following your dream and not someone elses. Be ready to work hard and love it.

Q: Why do you love dance and what is your inspiration?
A: Dancing allows me to express my creativity. I love the structure of technique and the freedom of artistry. I am inspired by my mother, my teachers, my inner spirit, my students, the natural world, knowledge, life, the freedom art gives me. I think allowing myself to always learn new things is one of my greatest inspirations...that is something I get from my mom. She was never afraid to learn something new. I love to learn.  
* I began learning Flamenco with Eve Agush at the age of eight and have continued dancing ever since.  She is an amazing teacher who has the ability to make one dance well, but more importantly fall in love with dancing.  Over the years that I have known Eve I have learned a lot of unforgettable life lessons along with the techniques necessary to dance Flamenco.  Below is a photo of Eve in a red and black polka dotted dress as she dances along the street with students.