Garrotxa, Spain....

I'm fascinated by one of the cheeses selected from the Welsh Rabbit that you'll be tasting at our "Al-Andalus" event. It's called Garrotxa and gets its name from the town it comes from located in foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains in Catalunya Spain. Apparently, it was almost extinct when some young cheese makers revived it in 1981! Spain, as you might of guessed also has a very rich folk dance tradition. Here is a folk dance from Catalunya:

Flamenco - the end goal is "duende."

In preparation for my upcoming Spanish food, wine and dance event, "Al-Andalus," Aug. 5th and 6th at the Ruminate Barn in Fort Collins,  I've been thinking about why I've long been so infatuated with flamenco.  Yesterday I saw this video of my earlier mentor, Alonzo King: 

I hope you will watch the whole thing.  But in it he talks about the real end goal of dancing:  changing lives, if even for a moment, through dance - but dance that has integrity.  Truth, beauty, honesty, humility.  These, he says, must come from inside and transcend technique.  In my limited training in flamenco, I feel like from early on the end goal of "duende" - or spirit, passion is taught.  The video below says it all!

"Al-Andalus" - A contemporary look at Flamenco dance in Fort Collins.

I just wrote a press release for The Coloradoan describing my new work that will be part of the August 5th and 6th event, "Al-Andalus: An Evening of Spanish Food, Wine and Dance."  I enjoyed articulating some of my thoughts about this upcoming event:

In Al-Andalus, a new full-length work, choreographer Alicia Laumann traces the roots of flamenco dance and song as it was developed in the barrios of southern Spain where the persecuted Jews’, moors’ and gypsies’ ancient traditions blended to form a sensuous and mysterious new art form.  Using a contemporary dance vernacular, Ms. Laumann, takes the audience on an aural journey with the use of traditional and contemporary Moroccan and Sephardic music to highlight how the fusion of these traditions produced what is today known as flamenco.

Laumann says, “I am not a trained flamenco dancer but I fell in love with it when I studied in Spain for six months.  Flamenco to me is one of the most beautiful and important classical traditions precisely because of its unique roots and because it was an art form birthed out of hardship.  When the Inquisition effectively drove these minority groups into the mountains in southern Spain, it was their ability to live in relative harmony that produced flamenco.  I find that fascinating and a small picture of the best in humanity.”  

She goes on to say, “Out of respect for the form, I have stuck to my roots - ballet and contemporary dance - but have tried to represent the essential elements of flamenco dance: the duende, or spirit; its sensuousness through large expansive movement; the element of community through unique groupings; and, its rhythmic vitality through strong percussive movement.”