Intensive Study of Spanish Dance

Project Overview

I plan to take part in a two-week intensive Spanish dance festival of technique classes held at Northeastern Illinois University, taught by Spanish dance masters from Spain and the United States. Through the festival, I will be able to take part in fifty-nine classes, taught by 7 different instructors. In preparation for this experience, I will work privately with _________, a former Northern Illinois University professor who has worked with the Ensemble Espanol and has also taught Spanish dance at Northern, and my adviser, _______________, who heads up the Supplemental Instruction Program for the university and has 12 years of dance experience. The goal of this experience will be to create a performance piece for the fall 2002 Art for Life show and a semester long Spanish dance curriculum for high school age students. I will have two follow up meetings with _______________ and ___________ for feedback on my project. At the end, I hope to fully understand and grasp the art and technique of Flamenco and the other regional Spanish dances, so that I can pass on this art and culture to my peers at Northern and to my future students when I become a high school teacher.

The Impetus for this Project

My desire to create this project stems from several sources. I studied Spanish for 5 years before college, and have always enjoyed learning about Latin and Spanish cultures. As a teacher, I plan to become involved with my school's dance group. It is my goal to bring to them not only my experience with ballet and modem dance, but also my experiences with hip-hop, African, and Latin dance. I want to be able to offer my students as many dance styles as possible to ensure their growth as multifaceted, multicultural dancers with a wide base of formal dance techniques.

During my study abroad experience (spring 2001), I had the opportunity to travel to the city of Seville, Spain, during La Feria (a major flamenco festival). However, since I had not originally planned to travel to Spain, I was completely unprepared for the experience. My friends and I were welcomed into several casetas (tents) for dancing. Though I could not remember many of the dance steps, it was an amazing experience.

Each and every night of the festival, people wore the traditional bright, full skirts (faldas), and they ate, drank, and danced the night away. During my stay, I also had the opportunity to attend a live flamenco performance. I was immediately caught up in the passion and heart-wrenching emotion of the dance. I don't think I breathed for the entire three-hour show! I immediately remembered how much I had loved the Spanish dance class I had taken at Northern, and I vowed to learn more.

Project Purpose and Description

During this intensive study of Spanish dance, I will grasp the technique in all areas of Spanish dance: castanuelas (castanets), Jota, Alegrias, Soleares, Bulerias, Tientos, and Tangos. I will also choreograph a performance piece for the 2002 Art for Life show under the direction of _____________ and ________________, and I will construct a one semester course in Spanish dance aimed at the high school aged students I will soon be teaching. This extremely enhanced knowledge base will not only help me in finding a teaching position when I graduate from Northern, but it will also give me the ability to pass on the art of Spanish dance to other people in the community. It is a beautiful dance style that very few people have studied. In fact, I did research in order to locate a less expensive flamenco studio in Illinois, and Ensemble Espanol was the only studio I could locate.

It is a personal mission of mine to spread cultural awareness. My work with ____________ will prepare me for the festival, while the classes will fully immerse m