Flamenco Festival in Fresno

July 8, 2009 8:18:01 PM PDT
It's been called the music of gypsies and has a large following in cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco. But many here in the Valley have also developed a love for all things "Flamenco" ... and they are inviting you to a special festival in Fresno this weekend.These sweeping arm movements and the strong, rhythmic foot stomping are the result of years of practice in the art of flamenco dance.

"There is a rhythm and a rigidity on the lower half and the upper half is just very elegant" says Eva Amador-Gosselin, a dancer and instructor who developed a love for this Spanish art form as a teenager.

For the past 15 years.. Eva, Ricardo Ramirez and Reyna Contreras have been performing together as "Cuadro Español"...

"It's very passionate" says Eva, "I happen to like it cause I feel it in my soul."

Ricardo shares that passion. He owns Academia de Arte Flamenco-- a dance studio in central Fresno and describes flamenco music as mood-changing. "One of my students said if I keep dancing this I'll never get alzeihmers cause it makes me think."

The group is part of the Fresno Flamenco and Spanish Arts Society--- a group that works to promote not only Spanish dance, but music, art, food all aspects of Spanish culture.

"I'd like to see more involvement," says Eva. "I'd like to see them come to our society functions-- I'd like them to come to our shows whenever we're dancing."

To that end, the Society is hosting a Flamenco Festival this Saturday at the Tower Theater featuring musicians David Maldonado and Patrick Contreras.

"So much of this money is going into a scholarship fund to help the kids that can't afford dancing, can't afford guitar ... maybe piano and even cajon," says Society President, Don Ghimenti.

Tuesday, the sounds of the acoustic guitar drew this young man into the studio to watch and learn ... Society members hope the festival will ignite a similar curiosity in others.

Ricardo said, "It kind of sounds like a cliché-- but once it get into the music-- it takes over you."

The Flamenco Festival will take place this Saturday at the Tower Theater starting at 1pm. There will be food vendors-- as well as dance and guitar lessons. The grand concert begins at 7pm. For tickets and information, call 559-485-9050.

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