History Of Flamenco Dance

The music, song and dance of Flamenco is said to have originated in Andalusia, in Southern Spain. It’s influenced by traditional music of Romani, with elements traced back to northern India, and even Greek, Moorish, and Jewish cultures. Influences can still be seen in the Indian Kathak dance.

The core of Flamenco dance is based upon Flamenco Dance, Enforced Archpersonal improvisation and spontaneous expression. It is renowned for its emotional intensity and proud presence; and can be easily recognized by an expressive use of the arms and rhythmic stamping of the feet.

The role of the dancer is to interpret the words of the singer. It is made up of song (cante), guitar (toque), and hand clapping/dancing (baile), and although not from traditional dance, the castanets are often widely used in the dance. It involves a rhythmic collaboration of foot tapping, stomping, intricate guitars, and hand clapping with beautiful traditional song. Singers of Flamenco are known as cantaores, and are the most important element in the juerga (informal, spontaneous gathering similar to a jam session).

In the 18th Century the art of Flamenco dance was learnt from other performers, not in schools. But the guitarists went through rigorous professional training. Today, however, there are more Flamenco academies in Japan than Spain!

It was largely part of the Gypsy community but as this became less segregated it was possible for the community and the dance to be seen more publicly. Originally the Cante (song) was the core element of Flamenco, the guitar and dance came much later.  It first became a public performing art in the second half of the 19th Century, when Cafés Cantantes became popular in Seville 1842, and was known as Opera Flamenca.  

From the 1850s, it became a more professional dance. Performers used wooden platforms, but soon singing overtook the dance spectacle.

Flamenco occurs in four settings, in the juerga, in convert venues, in the theatre and in small-scale cabaret. The juerga and cabaret performances are informal settings, while the concert and theatre settings are formal. A traditional concert is very different to a juerga, as there is only one singer and one guitarist.

In theatres, Flamenco has become an extended dance in its own right comparable to ballet, and professional Flamenco companies such as Maria Pagés encourage and nurture professional Flamenco dancers.

In the mid 20th Century, Flamenco dance became popular again and was integrated into Ballets Flamencos, which were a mixture of traditional flamenco and new modern ideas. Concerts became less traditional, too, meaning that instead of just one guitarist and singer accompanying the dance, you’re more likely to find a Flamenco band consisting of three guitars, including a bass guitar, a piano, flutes or saxophones, and a cajon, a traditional wooden box drum played by hand (so without drumsticks). There are also more singers in this more modern setting, who often take turns to sing solos.

The main influencers on the evolution of Flamenco music include classical Andalusian Orchestras of the Islamic empire, Andalusian regional folk forms, Punjabi singing from India, Persian Zyriab singing, Jewish chants used in the Synagogue, African influences from slaves of New World Caribbean, as well as Central and South American colonies, Arabic Zayal, and Mozarabic forms such as Zambra and Zarchyas.

This variety of influences has also played an important role on the evolution of Flamenco dance styles, and modern influences and changes are shaping the way of Flamenco to this day.

The article was written by Move Dancewear, providers of dancewear for ballet, jazz, Flamenco and tap. Move are enthusiastic about dance, and aim to provide resources and inspiration to dancers of all dance varieties.

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Ashani Mfuko Is Unstoppable

Ashani Mfuko, Inside NYC Dance

Her heart is full for the dance community which is why she is launching a new television series entitled “Inside NYC Dance.”

Since the launch of her radio show “Let’s Talk Dance” in 2010, Mfuko has gained a following of more than 20,000 listeners and launched more than 60 episodes and YouTube features. Active in the online community, Mfuko’s weekly #LetsTalkDance tweetchats are often among the top trending topics on Twitter, weighing in with questions and commentary around current trends and artist needs. Listeners and followers tune in from around the world. Mfuko provides tips and tricks as well as educates the dance community in regards to marketing, branding, utilizing social media and developing media to increase exposure and online presence. The addition of “Inside NYC Dance” will further increase community engagement to dance news and reach a new audience through MNN’s subscriber base of 620,000 in the Manhattan area.

“This past year we’ve really seen the popularity of dance TV shows take off, but there’s no real representation of what’s happening in the center of the dance world, in New York City,” says Ashani Mfuko. “This TV series is a much-needed boost to the Dance Community. Not only does it provide larger community exposure to dance visionaries but will also highlight upcoming dance events to drive community interaction.”

The weekly show premiered last Friday night at 10:30 p.m. on the Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Culture Channel (Time Warner Cable 67 | RCN 85 | FiOS 36) and continues each Friday for twelve episodes.

Inside NYC Dance

This coming Friday we can expect features on The Young Choreographer’s Festival, Exec. Director of The Ladies of Hip-Hop Festival, Michele Byrd McPhee, and Media Relations Specialist, Amber Henrie.

Where can I watch “Inside NYC Dance?”

Residents within the five boroughs of New York City can watch the show through their local cable network (Time Warner Cable 67 | RCN 85 | FiOS 36). Viewers outside of NYC can watch the show’s live stream at http://mnn.org. The show will air every Friday night at 10:30pm. For additional information and details on each upcoming episode follow the show on Facebook.com/InsideNYCDance and Twitter.com/InsideNYCDance, or visit http://insidenycdance.com.

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First Steps to Weight Loss

PART TWO: Eat Salad Every Day

Kale Salad

Image credit Gena Hamshaw

Leafy green vegetables, especially dark green ones, are the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet. That makes the act of eating a salad one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall well being and maintain a healthy amount of body fat. As long as your salads are done right (see below), eating more of them will both decrease the calories you take in and increase the nutrients you get. This means salad consumption is very helpful for both weight loss and health gain.

Healthy foods are nutrient dense, meaning they have a lot of nutrients per calorie. Micronutrients are a class of nutrients that are crucial for having a long, healthy life. They keep your body in running order, including your bones, soft tissues, eyes, and immune system. Getting lots of them also significantly reduces your risk of many diseases, including certain types of cancer. Calories are what give you energy. Since you only need so much energy per day, you’re better off getting as much nutrition as you can along with those calories. Most people eating Western diets get too many calories and not enough micronutrients. This almost always leads to too much body fat and ill health. That means most Westerners need to eat more foods that are more nutrient dense, like greens.

Salad is high in many nutrients, including fiber. Eating fibrous foods such as vegetables, beans, and fruit fills the volume of your stomach and makes you feel full and satisfied. That leaves less room for food that is less healthy. And so, one easy step you can take to reduce the amount of calories you eat while increasing the amount of nutrients you get is to eat a salad every day, preferably before a big meal like lunch or dinner. Some people even base an entire meal on salad by adding other yummy ingredients, like the ones below.

Aside from green leaves, there are many more tasty and health-promoting foods you can add to your salad. Here are some:

-greens: romaine lettuce, spinach, mixed greens, arugula
-other vegetables: bell peppers, onions, tomatoes, carrots, sprouts, artichoke hearts
-fruits: diced grapefruit, apples, figs, berries, and any dried fruits
-nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed
-herbs, fresh or dried: cilantro, oregano, mint
-legumes: black beans, red lentils, garbanzo beans, kidney beans, sweet peas
-whole grains: brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, wild rice, corn

The more ingredients you add from the vegetables, legumes, and fruits categories, the more nutrients your salad has per calorie. And when you include fruits, herbs, and other delicious foods, the tastier your salad becomes and the less dressing you might want to add.

Adding foods that are low in nutrients but high in calories can destroy the health status of a salad in no time. Meat, cheese, and oil are common examples. If you add these foods, they should be in small amounts (the smallest amount you can muster). Croutons made from white bread are another example of a low-nutrient food often added to salads.

Many salad dressings are based on oil, which is one of the least nutrient dense foods around. Even olive oil, which has been heavily advertised as a health food, is actually very low in nutrients aside from fat, from which it gets 100% of its calories. That means that the more oil and oil-based dressings you add to your greens, the less health-promoting the salad becomes. And the harder it will be to maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight.

If you are buying a salad dressing, one of the first ingredients in the ingredient list should be some kind of vinegar or water, not oil. One trick is to just buy vinegar on its own, such as balsamic, apple cider, etc. You can also use hummus, tahini, salsa, and hot sauce as great salad toppings that can be mixed in to add a lot of flavor.

There are lots of recipes for healthy salad dressings, but here’s a simple formula you can use to create your own: Pick a vinegar, a nut butter or seed butter, an herb or spice, and a citrus fruit. Put these ingredients into a blender and add enough water to blend. Keep adding water until you have the desired consistency and flavor power. Lots of vinegar will take lots of water and other ingredients to mellow out. The more nut or seed butter you add, the more calories the salad dressing will have. Athletes needing more calories can be generous with the amount of nuts and seeds their salads–and any meal–include.

Part 1: Stop Drinking Calories!

DISCLAIMER: The author is neither a nutritionist nor registered dietician. Information contained herein was gathered from many sources and can be found in the literature of such organizations as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetics Association, the American Council on Exercise, National Institutes of Health, and others. Consult with a physician before making changes to your diet or exercise program.

For more about the Author, Sebastian Grubb visit: SebastianGrubb.com

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Cynthia King Presents FRAMED

Cynthia King Dance Studio, Enforced Arch

Brooklyn, NY – This October marks 50 years of dance for acclaimed CKDS Artistic Director and choreographer, Cynthia King. To celebrate the occasion, King offers audiences FRAMED, a unique, fast-paced assemblage of pieces incorporating a diverse collection of performers — from aspiring young dancers to professionals. FRAMED will include original dance works ranging from the thought-provoking to the joyous, from pure camp to pure catharsis.

October 6, 2012
Kumble Theater for the Performing Arts
One University Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Box Office: (718) 488-1624
Tickets can be purchased at www.kumbletheater.tix.com

FRAMED will continue the CKDS growing tradition of staging innovative productions performed for and by adults and children at Kumble Theatre for the Performing Arts in Brooklyn, NY. Says King, “I am excited to present this dynamic collection of works that truly represent many facets of my career in dance, and address the issues that I am passionate about.”

Cynthia King, Enforced ArchCynthia King has danced professionally in New York and with touring companies. A Brooklyn devotee and fixture, she has taught at local schools and frequently hosts and participates in community and political events. She is a passionate animal advocate, producing Cynthia King Vegan Ballet Slippers-the only prêt-a-porter vegan ballet shoes available on the market, and has served on the boards of various animal welfare organizations. Her studio has trained dancers in Brooklyn for over ten years.

Select pieces will address serious political and ethical issues, ranging from the objectification of girls and women by society to animal rights, interspersed with light-hearted jaunts, for a compelling evening spanning a spectrum of emotions. King will dance with CKDS faculty, current students, and alumni. Special guests from the New York City arts community have shared their talents by composing original music, and designing sets and costumes. Dynamic Rockers will perform and drag queen activist Honey LaBronx will be our vivacious Master of Ceremonies.

Cynthia King Dance Studio, Enforced ArchAbout Cynthia King Dance Studio
Since its beginnings, CKDS has brought excellence in dance to the Brooklyn community, inspiring the best in students of all ages. For more than a decade, CKDS has continued to prioritize technical training, innovative performance, and community involvement to create a unique and personally rewarding experience for all of its dancers and their families. Learn more at our website: www.cynthiakingdance.com.

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Behind The Velvet Curtain

Behind The Velvet Curtian, Bettina May, Beauty BarCome out to the debut of Bettina May‘s new monthly show in Manhattan! Each month she’ll be putting the best performers in burlesque, boylesque and variety onstage. Her inaugural show is the NY Burlesque Fest Hangover show, the perfect wind down from an amazing 4 days of international burlesque, featuring London’s Kitty Bang Bang, BHOF King of Burlesque 2012 Russell Bruner from Portland, Maine Attraction, Miss Ekaterina, herself and hosted by the extraordinary Bastard Keith!

Visit: http://bettina.ca/BehindTheVelvetCurtain/for more details and for reservations.

Ticket Information:
General Admisson – $10 at the door, 1/2 off with a NYBF weekend pass (first show only!)
Reserved Seating – $20 per person, subject to availability.
Group Reservations – Special packages available for Bachelorette Parties, Birthdays etc.
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Improve your movement

… with the 6 essential pilates concept: Part 1 – CenteringTracey Katof, Enforced Arch

Centering means beginning movement from what is referred to as the powerhouse or core. In pilates, the center of the body is located between the lowest ribs and pubic bone.  By initiating all movement from this region, the rest of the body will be able to align and move more efficiently.

Many people think the core is just the abdominals and then think of a crunch or situp. In pilates we know that the core includes the abdominal, lower back, and buttocks.  It is a misconception that in order to engage your core, you must bend the spine (like in a crunch), hold your breath & press your abdomen outward. In actuality, it is the opposite!  First of all the spine does not need to bend in order to engage your core.   The core can engage without any structural change of the body. Second, breath is essential for your muscle strength and endurance.  And Finally, a strong core is a tight and pulled in feeling.

Try it out: This can be done standing, sitting, laying down and basically in any other position. If someone is watching you, they should not see your body change positions.  I like to think of the core as I would a fist.  To make a fist I curl my fingers in, wrap my thumb around and squeeze.  I ask my clients to engage their core in a similar way.  Think of pulling the core muscles inward and like a fist, wrap the muscles around the spine. You will feel an intense 360 degree tightening of the core.  This is your powerhouse!

Part 2 – Concentration

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Footloose In New York City

Did you know it’s illegal to dance in most bars, restaurants and even well established clubs in New York City? Or that, unless it’s a performance, dancing is not recognized as a form of expression protected under the First Amendment?

In 1926, while liquor was bootlegged and Jazz was shaking things up in Harlem, New York City instituted the Cabaret Law that required establishments serving food or drink to obtain a separate license before permitting any dancing or live music on their premises. This law successfully sought to police and restrict the interracial mixing happening in dance clubs uptown. Almost 100 years later, though times and racial attitudes have changed, the Cabaret Law is not only still in effect and enforced, but contemporary zoning regulations effectively make dancing with your friends absolutely illegal in large parts of the city!

New York’s restrictive dancing regulations affect not only individual dancers and communities, but businesses too, who suffer under the weight of intransigent bureaucracy, legal costs, irregular enforcement and disproportionate fines. Consequently, the number of legal venues has also been declining at an alarming rate. In the 1960s, in the Five Boroughs of New York City there were over 12,000 Cabaret Licenses. By 2008 there were only 179 and as of September 4th 2012 – just 135. (See details here)

After an attempt to repeal the Cabaret Laws on First Amendment grounds failed in 2006, the only avenue toward meaningful change now is through legislative action and we need your support! Please help us repeal the 1926 Cabaret Law and remove the following 7 words from the Zoning Code: “or establishments of any capacity with dancing.” These reforms will have no effect on the applicability or enforcement of any of the numerous noise, fire, safety, alcohol and drug ordinances that keep our persons and venues safe and our neighborhoods livable. Help us free dancing by signing this petition and voting for candidates who support and advocate for it!

Social dancing should be freely available to anyone and everyone in any venue in the City of New York where it is safe to do so. No neighborhood should be zoned “No Dancing Allowed.” Local communities and small businesses should be allowed to dance and flourish. (SOURCE)

PLEASE visit Change.org and sign/share the petition to repeal this archaic law HERE!

Article written by and brought to you by Ina Sotirova.

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Bettina May at Nurse Bettie

Bettina May, Nurse Bettie, Enforced ArchI had a night out on the town with Bettina May. We met up in the Lower East Side at Nurse Bettie where she performed to Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him by Betty Davis. She wore a pleather one piece and looked ravishing.

Falafel, Enforced Arch

She then took me to a new vegetarian falafel shop around the corner where they make fresh whole wheat pita bread every hour. It was the freshest falafel sandwich I’d ever had.

Bettina May, Enforced Arch

A fun nite, as always, with Bettina May! Check out her performance schedule HERE.

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First Steps To Weight Loss

PART 1: Stop Drinking Calories!

When we say “body weight” and “weight loss”, we are usually talking about fat mass and decreasing it. Muscle and other tissues make up a lot of our weight also, but few people are trying to “lose muscle mass”! Bodyfat is generally stored when we eat more food than we need, storing extra calories in our fat tissue for the next famine. The problem, of course, is that in modern, Westernized countries, there is no famine. Instead we have near-constant opportunities to feast. In this article series I’ll be laying out some no-nonsense approaches to reducing calories and increasing nutrients in the food we eat. This strategy, along with appropriate exercise habits and other healthy habits, is the key to maintaining a healthy amount of fat in our bodies.

Stop drinking calories! Liquid calories tend to increase your total calories (consumed energy) per day, but, because they are mostly nutrient-poor, they decrease your daily nutrient intake. This means a tendency toward fat-gain and decreased health.Sugary Beverages

Examples of Liquid Calories:
-Juice, even fresh
-Milk, dairy or nondairy
-Energy Drinks and soda pop, even sugar-free

Replace with:
-Tea, especially green/white/black
-Carbonated Water
-Vegetable Juice, especially that made from green vegetables (carrot juice is still very high in sugar and lower in nutrients than green vegetable juice)
-Whole Food Smoothies, especially those containing both fruits and vegetables

Juice, usually made from fruit or carrots, is essentially sugar water with a small amount of some vitamins. So many nutrients, including fiber, are lost when juicing fruits, that the end product can hardly be considered healthy, even when fresh-squeezed. Eat fruit instead!

Milk is also a low-nutrient food. While most milks (nondairy included) are high in calcium and Vitamin D, these are only two nutrients, and there are thousands of nutrients that we should be getting in our food. Also, milks are somewhat high in sugar, and non-skim dairy milk (along with coconut milk) is high in saturated fat and further increases your calories per day without significantly increasing your nutrients per day.

Alcohol is a low-nutrient food. Some benefits are conferred from moderate alcohol consumption (1-2 drinks per day), but these benefits might be outweighed by simply eating another small salad per day instead of drinking alcohol. If you are physically quite active, 1 alcoholic drink per day is probably fine.

Energy Drinks are not healthy. They are generally made out of carbonated water and sugar with a handful of vitamins and stimulants thrown in. Caffeinating oneself frequently as a lifestyle choice is a questionable practice on its own. But regularly consuming energy drinks is like regularly drinking soda pop, also called liquid candy.

What about sodas and energy drinks that are sugar-free?
Artificial sweeteners are linked to a slight increase in body weight. Why? The prevailing theory is that consuming fake sugar confuses your body’s ability to sense when real sugar is being eaten. That means that when you do eat real sugar, like from some orange slices, your body is less-well equipped to deal with these sugars since it believes they are fake sugars. Personally, I consume drinks with real sugar those few times per year when I splurge on super sweet beverages.

Tea, from the tea tree (different than the “tea tree” plant from which “tea tree oil” is obtained), is green, white, or black, depending on how much the leaves are processed after harvest. All three are full of nutrients, free of calories, and will benefit your health. Black has the most caffeine, green the least.

Water and carbonated water is healthy stuff. Drink in abundance! Actually, a sign that you are well-hydrated (but not over-hydrated) is having urine that is slightly yellow, but mostly clear.

Vegetable JuiceVegetable Juice, especially that made from green vegetables, is very good for your health. Low in sugar but very high in nutrients, green vegetable juice is a great addition for anyone. Watch out for vegetable juice that is based on celery or cucumber, since this is lower in nutrients than juice made primarily from vegetables like romaine, kale, broccoli, and spinach.

Whole Food Smoothies contain all the stuff that the whole food has, it’s just mixed and “pre-chewed” for your enjoyment. As long as you drink them somewhat close to when they are made (try 10-20 minutes), drinking whole food smoothies can be a super healthy way to go. Try mixing fruits and green leaves. You’d be surprised how many leaves (like spinach or romaine) you can add before you taste them. It’s like a fruit salad meets a green salad, and super convenient. You can also add other flavors by throwing in some cinnamon, unprocessed cocoa powder, ginger, etc.

What About Athletes?
Athletes have higher–sometimes much higher–calorie needs, and liquid calories can be a good way to get those additional calories. It’s still smart to get calories from nutrient-dense foods though, since the body needs more nutrients to repair from increased physical activity. I recommend that athletes consume 1 or 2 calorie-dense smoothies per day that include lots of fruits, green leaves, and nut butter, like the one below:

Recovery Smoothie:
2 bananas, 3 cups mixed greens, 1 cup blueberries, lots of cinnamon, whole food hemp protein powder, 3 TBSP peanut butter, water. Blend until smooth. Makes about 4 cups.

Part 2: Eat Salad Every Day

DISCLAIMER: The author is neither a nutritionist nor registered dietician. Information contained herein was gathered from many sources and can be found in the literature of such organizations as the World Health Organization, the American Dietetics Association, the American Council on Exercise, National Institutes of Health, and others. Consult with a physician before making changes to your diet or exercise programs.

For more about the Author, Sebastian Grubb visit: SebastianGrubb.com

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Edmonton Fringe Festival Part 5

The Man Who Wasnt There, FT Collab

While in Edmonton, Canada for The International Fringe Festival the cast of The Man Who Wasn’t There took time to Busk on The Fringe Grounds. This not only gave us more opportunities to perform but was a fulfilling way to connect with people and invite them to our show!

I’ve cut together a few great moments. Check it out:

Edmonton FRINGE – Part 1
Edmonton FRINGE – Part 2
Edmonton FRINGE – Part 3
Edmonton FRINGE – Part 4
Edmonton FRINGE – Part 5
Edmonton FRINGE – Part 6

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