by Nemesio Paredes

The objective of this one-hour class is to introduce the basic principles and execution of flamenco dance technique. Rhythmic heelwork, traditional positions and use of the arms and hands with movement patterns will be demonstrated and taught. Music and rhythm accompaniment will be by taped recordings. This class is open to all ages. Shoes with heels are required; bare feet and sneakers are discouraged.

The art of flamenco, music and dance, originated from the Spanish gypsies of southern Spain in the province of Andalucia. Flamenco has its roots from Indian, Jewish, and Moorish influences. The song was first developed to express the gypsies’ life and suffering from persecution and suppression under the Spanish monarchy. Different songs express their deep emotions of loneliness, tragedy, betrayal, sadness, and yes, even humor. Soon, the guitar accompanied the song and later the dance evolved. The “feeling” of each dance reflects the song’s lyrics (letras), guitar melodies, and the dance’s characteristic rhythm. The use of complex heelwork intensifies the rhythm. And the grace of the arms and hands along with the sinuous body movements of the female dancer and the masculine and elegant posturing of the male dancer embellish the move-ment patterns of the dance. All 3 human elements: the singer, guitarist, and dancer contribute to the beauty and excitement of this unique art form that is flamenco.

Nemesio Paredes is a veteran Spanish classical and flamenco dancer. He began dance training early with San Francisco Ballet and later with Spanish classical and flamenco teachers in San Francisco and Spain. He has appeared in SF Opera’s “La Traviata” and “ Carmen”, danced with Theatre Flamenco/SF, Rosa Montoya’s Bailes Flamenco, Patri Nader’s Bailes Espana, Nora Dinzelbacher’s Argentine Tango and Folk Ballet, and performed and toured with Smuin Ballet. He was a featured soloist in SF’s Ethnic Dance Festival, Men Dancing, Stanford University’s Music Festival, and with the Tulare and San Jose Symphonies. He and his Flamenco Ensemble were nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award. No longer performing, he continues to teach, coach, and conduct workshops.

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