With dynamic rhythms, intricate hand movements and stylistic footwork, Flamenco gives dancers an opportunity to explore new movement styles and a passionate art form.
Starting this January, Santa Clarita Valley residents will be able to learn this art form from an experienced classical and Flamenco dancer, Mari Sandoval, at the Newhall Community Center.
“It’s very exciting, it’s a wonderful thing for people to experience,” Sandoval said. “They’re learning to incorporate in their bodies in the arm movement, the hand movement, the rhythmic hand claps, the rhythmic heel work.”
Sandoval began teaching Flamenco classes at the Newhall Community Center a year and a half ago. In this brief time, Sandoval said each student has grown in technique, expressiveness and understanding of a few of the rhythms and styles that Flamenco encompasses.
“The people who have been taking it for a year are really progressing,” Sandoval said. “Currently the class is working on five dances… So we have pieces, we are just introducing them to the movements that go with the different rhythms.”
This April, Sandoval hopes to bring her current students to perform at the Feria de Abril, a traditional event held each April in Seville, Spain.
Through these performances and lessons, Sandoval hopes to her passion for Flamenco with others.
“Since this art form has been one of the most intense artistic influence and disciplines in my life, it has been a great pleasure to share my love of Flamenco with members of the class,” she said.
Sandoval was first introduced to Flamenco as a teenager when her mentor and renowned classical dancer Carmelita Maracci gave her class a lesson in castanets and heel work.
“That was the first time I ever felt that passion and I went crazy… I went to Spain and lived in Spain and then danced with everyone I could in LA,” Sandoval said. “It was something I had to have as part of my life.”
Now, Sandoval hopes to expose the Santa Clarita community to the art form that shaped her own life.
“My objective teaching here in Santa Clarita is to expose the Santa Clarita community to this dynamic art form that challenges strength and coordination and builds beautifully expressive dancers,” she said.
Beginners interested in the Flamenco dance are encouraged to come to Sandoval’s class “as they are,” as Flamenco shoes and skirts are not required for the first classes.
During this class, students will learn stylistic hand and arm movements, footwork, rhythmic hard clapping and dances.
The seven-week, one-hour class will begin Jan. 11 and will be held each Thursday at 6:30 p.m. Registration for the class can be completed online at santa-clarita.com/seasons and is $46 per person.
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