International Flamenco Day

While flamenco has its roots deep in Spain, it has become a universal art form and is danced and played from Japan to Latin America and the United States.

To mark International Flamenco Day (Saturday, November 16), a Madrid dance school has released a special video.

Under the motto "Flamenco doesn't make distinctions, it distinguishes us", it features artists from all origins and sexual orientations.

As artists like Rosalía keep reinventing this genre, the music used is a fusion of traditional flamenco and electronic music, further underlining its diversity.

"The video tries to reflect that in Flamenco everything has a place, regardless of gender, race, physical complexion or age," said the Fortea dance school in a statement.

"The students dance in front of changing backgrounds that symbolise diversity, and that come together at the end to form a single picture.

"In the choreographies there are high, low dancers of different races, they dance in mixed couples or of the same sex and have very different ages, as a sign of inclusion in an art that 'does not distinguish'."

Virginia Domínguez, the director of the Fortea dance school, said: "Our message this year has changed; in the social moment in which we live, we thought it was appropriate to highlight one of the values of Flamenco beyond its art and culture or what it means for us, the students and professionals who live it day by day.

"The capacity of Flamenco to welcome everyone, whatever their social, physical, sexual or cultural condition, can be "pulled up" in a dance, a few hand claps or a "cante" (singing), is one of its great things. It is, for us, a pride and privilege that Flamenco is part of our culture. And this is what we wanted to express, that Flamenco does NOT make distinctions, it distinguishes US."

The International Flamenco Day is held on November 16 to mark the day it was included in UNESCO's World Heritage list.

  • Published in Culture

6th Annual Salsa Fiesta with Mayito Rivera!

Start summer SIZZLINGLY with the Latin music and dance highlight of the year- the 6th Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta, featuring Mayito Rivera, direct from Havana, Cuba!

One of the top salsa singers in the world, Mayito Rivera presents dynamic shows rich in musicality and rhythm. For a generation he was the voice of the legendary Cuban band Los Van Van with whom he won a Grammy. Later Rivera’s solo CD ‘Negrito Bailador’ was also nominated for a Grammy. A master of many styles - salsa, timba, rumba, son, cha cha cha, and more- Rivera is hugely popular both in Cuba and throughout the globe.

Rivera rarely performs in the United States due to difficulty of obtaining immigration visas for his Cuba based band. However now there is solution in the form of a new American-Cuban collaboration that will debut at Minnesota Salsa Fiesta and may be working for years to come.

Rivera will be backed up by Minneapolis-based salsa orchestra Charanga Tropical, for this one night expanded to 18-pieces with strings, horn section, back-up singers and full Latin rhythm section. Charanga Tropical plays more than local salsa music. In 2015 the band became the first U.S. group ever to tour Cuba and perform at Havana’s International Danzón Festival. In 2016 Charanga Tropical released its CD ‘In Cuba,’ recorded in the same Havana studios as ‘Buena Vista Social Club.’

For this show only Charanga Tropical’s 18-piece edition will feature an all-star collection of Latin talent including Cuban singer/pianist Viviana Pintado, Cuban singer Zuzel Balbín from Malamanya, and musicians from Salsa del Soul, Tropical Zone, Havana Gypsies, and other Minnesota ensembles. Traveling from Chicago to perform will also be exceptional coroistas Franklin Paz and Juan Castro and Latin jazzer Craig Russo.

  • Published in Culture

Dancing may help older women maintain the ability to perform daily tasks

A new study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports examined the potential effects of 16 different exercise types for reducing disability for activities of daily living (ADL) in older women.

The prospective study enrolled 1,003 community-dwelling older Japanese women without ADL disability at the start. In the baseline survey, all participants were asked whether or not they participated in any of 16 exercise types through a face-to-face interview. ADL disability during eight years of follow-up was defined as dependence in at least one ADL task (walking, eating, bathing, dressing, or toileting).

ADL disability was noted in 130 participants (13 percent) during follow-up. After adjusting for confounders, participation in dancing, compared with non-participation, was associated with a 73 percent significantly lower likelihood for developing ADL disability. There were no significant associations between other exercise types and ADL disability.

"Although it is unclear why dancing alone reduced the risk of ADL disability, dancing requires not only balance, strength, and endurance ability, but also cognitive ability: adaptability and concentration to move according to the music and partner, artistry for graceful and fluid motion, and memory for choreography," said lead author Dr. Yosuke Osuka, of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology." We think that these various elements may contribute to the superiority of dancing in maintaining a higher ADL capacity."

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