I am a writer that loves to allow others to visualize and appreciate the art, dance and music of different cultures via words. Many people never have the opportunity to do so otherwise. Allow me to take you on a journey using my eyes, and my ears. Art comes from the soul. A person's art, be it dance, music, painting or another form of art, flows from within. It is a part of your essence and should be shared. Even if you feel alone in your appreciation, others may also find the magic that flows from your soul.

Aug 172013

After a several month hiatus, there is nothing like getting out and seeing a good show and August 14th was our lucky day. The New Vintage (formerly Uncle Pleasants) hosted a free performance by the renowned “Flamenco Louisville” from 9 until Midnight and this collection of talented artists brought a refreshing and powerful new energy into what was once a very different venue. Of course, it had been almost 2 decades since I’d visited this establishment and back then it catered primarily to the punk and metal music scene.

Upon our arrival several positive changes were immediately visible. The front door was open and the sounds of rhythmic dance, light percussion and Spanish guitar were gently wafting into the night air. Not loudly mind you, but just enough to give a pleasant pause to someone walking past. We were greeted by the bartender immediately and service was quick and friendly, including directing us into the room in which “Flamenco Louisville” was performing.

This was the first time I’ve watched this talented group of Bailaoras’, Cantaoras’ and Musicians. Now, I am woefully disappointed for missing previous performances. The verbal storytellers are the Cantaoras’ (singers) and both Suzanne Allen and Shannon Fitgerald portrayed the emotion necessary to project understanding, even for those of us who are ‘slightly’ rusty on our Spanish.

The Bailaoras’ (dancers) of the evening were Diana Dinicola, Lisa Canter, Grace Mican and Larissa Guy, who all performed fluidly on stage, seemingly at one with the music and surroundings. Diana Dinicola both danced and played the role of an elegant herald, providing brief descriptions and introductions prior to each performance. Group dances were minimal, as the majority of the performances were done solo or in a ‘pass the shawl’ sort of way. This was particularly enjoyable, as the style seemed far more traditional, allowing each Bailaora to interact and project her individual energy into the audience.

Each Bailaora contributed a special kind of energy to the stage and Diana Dinicola’s years of experience, dedication and passion are obvious in her performance as she confidently moves onto the stage. She illuminates strength, poise and grace, transforming with a radiant energy that reaches out to interact with the patrons. If one could give the heart of Flamenco a face, Diana’s would be most appropriate. The raw power of her performance will subconsciously have you sitting on the edge of your seat, just anticipating her next climactic change.

With a small stage and a lot of seating congestion, Larissa Guy brought the patrons to their feet for a better view during her solo performance, our party included. From the moment she rose from her chair there was an explosion of intensely powerful emotion, whipping the energy in the room. Nothing stirred when she paused, but the second her foot hit the floor, the air crackled with life. She was a storm, bursting with emotional electricity on the stage.

It is true that music soothes the soul, but some music also compels the soul to dance. The music that entwined with the Bailaoras’ this evening was performed by Paul Carney on guitar and John Harris, who did an amazing job on percussion. We’ve had the pleasure of seeing Paul play once before, but actually seeing him on stage with Diana and “Flamenco Louisville” is without comparison. There is a magic that sparkles between them that seems to further ignite the passion of the performance. The timing was impeccable, as if invisible signals passed between them. Perfection.

Another unique aspect of Wednesday’s show was the reintroduction of Flamenco traditions. “Flamenco Louisville” embraced the audience as part of their own community by bringing in authentic Tapas to share with patrons. For those unfamiliar, “Flamenco Louisville” is the longest standing Flamenco group in Louisville that performs and educates others via workshops, classes and educational programs about the ancient Spanish art of storytelling, song, dance and music.
Those who have the pleasure of seeing “Flamenco Louisville” on stage will quickly not only see, but will meld into whatever emotions these passionate performers emanate, be it sadness, anger, joy or love. Flamenco is emotion in motion, but perhaps Diana Dinicola described it best on her site:

“Flamenco gives expression to ALL the emotions, not just the happy ones. I can be sad, angry, joyful. It allows me to turn whatever I’m feeling, even if it is something dark or “ugly” into something beautiful. As a woman, flamenco makes me feel incredibly powerful. And I am not waiting for a man to give me the opportunity to dance; I can dance solo, or with a group but a partner is not required. I also really appreciate that you are expected to get better as you get older. You are expected to have something to say in flamenco – “dime la verdad” – and the life experience to back it up. Nor do you have to be any particular body type. Some of the most respected dancers have substantial bodies. I respect that.”

Overall, it was a great show and the metamorphosis of Uncle Pleasants into “The New Vintage” is far more appealing than previous years. I could have done without the red and white stage lights glaring into the audience. However, if they continue to play host to entertainment such as “Flamenco Louisville”, we’ll be frequenting the venue much more often… although perhaps with sunglasses.



Upcoming Flamenco Louisville Shows in August:
Friday, August 23, 2013
9:30-11:00 pm
2144 Frankfort Ave
Cover: $10.00

Sunday, August 25, 2013
11:00 am
North Wing Lobby.

Saturday, August 31, 2013
5:45-6:30 pm on the Main Stage
Monday, September 2, 2013
3:00-3:45 pm on the Main Stage

May 042013

The actual meaning of Shen Yun is Divine Rhyme, however according to the Shen Yun Performing Arts Group based out of New York it means “the bodies of divine beings dancing” and after witnessing these 400 talented performers on stage, one might start to agree. They are the first performance company to ever take traditional Chinese dance to the stage on a grand scale and their devout focus and mesmerizing talent have been selling out theaters across the country, including in their home city at New York’s Lincoln Center.

The renowned Whitney Hall at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts welcomed Shen Yun on April 30th and brought 5000 years of Chinese history back to life through traditional music, vibrant costumes, back drops, stage props and talented performers.

The elaborate Shen Yun performance took the audience on a journey across the Middle Kingdom facing trials, battles, revelations, love and spiritual connections with the Gods of tradition. Though many of the ancient Gods are now forgotten in China itself, the Shen Yun performers still rise from the earthen grounds into their realm.

Historically, this was only possible if one followed a path of purity, but fortunately for us these performing artists chose to take a path filled with beauty, purity and goodness. Thus, the audience got a glimpse of what the ancients believed to be their ‘heaven’ including the very palaces of the Gods… at least a theatrical version thereof.
When someone takes the stage that truly enjoys and believes in what they do it is obvious in their performance, and the Shen Yun artists are giving long dead traditions a new life. The warriors were fierce, the maidens fair and the celestial beings were heavenly. Each and every performer exhibited the purist form of grace and class on stage. Group movements were fluid with the dancers seemingly connected to the one another and the energy literally flowed into the audience.

The East West Orchestra provides the sound during the performance and is the only known orchestra to combine both eastern and western instruments and compositions. The music itself is powerful and compliments each and every act. The drums, particularly in battle scenes added just the right amount of thunder wherever needed and melodic flutes offered more soothing sounds. It was a perfect collaboration of sight and sound, leading the audience by moment and mood.

As far as the costumes… they were nothing short of amazing with traditional designs and vibrant color combinations. The garments worn by the performers are all handmade and taken from the different dynasties throughout the history of China.

Taking a journey with Shen Yun down the path of Ancient Chinese traditions and beliefs was nothing short of amazing from the stage presence to the energy. I would highly recommend anyone take advantage of an opportunity to see a performance of the “bodies of divine beings dancing”.

Shen Yun will also be appearing in Louisville at Whitney Hall on May 1st before moving on to the next city.

Mar 232013

This year marked the seven year itch for March Madness in Louisville, but not in regards to the Cardinals. You might be shocked to learn there is more to March than basketball at the University of Louisville. Well, maybe not… but the true shock is the lack of attention some noteworthy events receive. The University of Louisville’s 7th Annual Dance Marathon on March 23rd was such an event.

For those unfamiliar with this less publicized and somewhat more artistic marathon, the first March Madness dance marathon was initiated by a group of students wanting to make a difference and support the local Kosair Children’s Hospital. They accomplished this by orchestrating a good, old fashioned dance marathon in 2006. The participating couples wore numbers and danced for hours, with the last on the floor winning, aka raising the most. The donation is made via the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

The University Of Louisville Dance Marathon 2013 was sponsored by Chili’s and drew more than 300 students to the Universities Student Activities Center on March 23rd, with many being repeat participants. Couples danced as part of a team and were assigned a specific color t-shirt along with their individual ‘duet’ number. A trio of DJ’s spun from a list of desirable dance tunes (student wise) and the teams moved with the flow of the beat (or the one in their head) for as long as they could.

The team t-shirt is a requirement for the students but otherwise the dress code is casual and up for interpretation. This is an open invite for some college style creativity to emphasize team color and style. Every ULDM brings more vibrantly colorful leggings, tutus, overalls, feathers, fake fur, ribbons, wigs and sneakers out on the dance floor. The open artistic encouragement helps increase the enthusiasm amongst the students, sponsors and spectators as fans of specific teams cheer their support. Realistically, as the evening hours wane into the morning, some grow weary but many of these students dance well past dawn.

It is not necessarily their ‘talent’ that draws applause for these dancers but more so their creative expression and physical endurance for a good cause. The participation increases yearly at this ‘dance for charity’ event as previous participants and committee members spread the word amongst enthusiastic new students. The University Of Louisville Dance Marathon has raised and benefited the needy children of Kosair in funds exceeding $300,000 up to date according to Amanda Current, Special Events Manager at the Children’s Hospital Foundation.


Now that the Madness of March has left us and we’ve made it past April’s noted day for fools, here are a few upcoming events that will give you a reason to venture out amongst the upcoming showers:

Celtic Woman will bring a taste of the Irish to the Louisville Palace on April 24th.

Shen Yun interprets 5000 years of Chinese culture via dance, theatre and music at 501 West Main on April 30th and May 1st starting at 7:30 pm.


Dec 192012

Tis time I take a moment to say Happy holidays and Happy New Year to all those that take the time to read my ramblings. May you all be blessed with cheer, beer and… whatever else you wish for as 2012 comes to an end… and speaking of end.

All is well that ends well and despite ‘end of the world prophesies’, some good things have come out of 2012. We were blessed to have another year of happiness filled with good friends, good music, relaxing times and fabulous dancers of flamenco, belly dance, ballroom, etc. etc. Granted the world has seen a few dark clouds; however there are also plenty of things left to celebrate. Like we’re still here…assuming we are since this gets printed in 2013.

My ability to attend events has been limited recently, but Rachel Reich’s “Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree” was once again a success, gathering plenty of toys to benefit needy children and providing an amazing performance on December 6th.  Rachel and all those kind hearted entertainers that participated and performed for the good of innocents remind us all of the light that exists, even during questionable times.

Now the lovely ladies of that troupe will be dancing their way into the “Birth 2012 Louisville” festival on December 21st and 22nd and continuing to spread good cheer. Unity in Louisville is providing the space and Al Hamsa and Raqia’s Stars will be providing the dancing entertainment Friday at 10 pm and Saturday at 4 pm. Festival goers will be treated to a vibrant display of swirling veils and positive energy as these elegant dancers perform Egyptian, American Tribal, Spanish Arabic fusion and many other styles of dance.

The festivities at Birth 2012 are planned to make every moment a celebration of life via song, dance, meditation and music over the entire 24 hour period. Some of the greatest musicians in Louisville, like Tyrone Cotton and John Gage will be taking the stage and reminding listeners why the blues never gets old. There will also be special meditation and prayer times scheduled throughout the event.

It is time to say goodbye to 2012, and New Year’s Eve has a promising event lined up as the Va Va Vixens will take the stage with Blue Moon Circus at Art Sanctuary. These hoop spinners, belly dancers, and sideshow gurus’ and gals will provide a few hours of rip roaring, Vaudeville style entertainment to greet 2013 and say goodbye to 2012. If you haven’t seen the Vixens… their amusing and exotic antics are sure to offer a unique way of ringing in the New Year.

I prophesize a few more good shows to wrap up 2012 and hope you all have happy and safe holidaze, filled with positive energy.  My fingers are crossed that all comets keep their distance and the world finds a way to make 2013 an even better year.



Nov 202012

This article will be a preview instead of a review as December marks the El Flujo column’s 1 year anniversary. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of watching and writing about some amazing local and international dancers, and some very touching benefit performances. One such benefit show being “Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree”, which ironically was the subject of this columns first article.

What is Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree? It is a group of caring individuals that play music and dance to benefit less fortunate children and provide them with toys for the holidays. These donations are given to the kids under the guise of Santa, but Mr. Claus is actually Rachel Reich of the Raqia Belly Dance Studio in New Albany, IN. She founded this toy drive back in 2009 but the participation has increased yearly, as have the benefits for the children. In 2011 the toy drive had 180 guests and 623 toys donated for AIM, the AIDS Interfaith Ministries of Kentuckiana.

December 6th will bring about the 4th Annual Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree at the Holiday Inn located on 411 West Spring Street in New Albany Indiana. Admittance is a toy or a $10 donation with all proceeds benefiting less fortunate children sponsored by AIM.

The evening will start out with a ‘Taste of New Albany’ from 6 pm till 7:30 where attendees can eat, drink and be merry. Adding to the serene environment will be the tunes of Il Trobadore and the Indianapolis Premier World Music Ensemble. The ever graceful Isabelle Celester Murray will be the featured dance artist during this portion of the show.

From 7:30 to 9 pm the room will come to life with colored veils, tinkling bells and fluid movements as the belly dancers take the stage to headline the evening’s entertainment. This year’s show will feature Al Hamsa, the Gypsies of the Nile and Raqia’s Stars including Raqia. These ladies will dance their hearts out for no other reason but to put a smile on the faces of children again this Christmas. Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree is a reminder of what holiday spirit should be about.

Speaking of holiday spirit… I’d really like to say Happy Holidaze (or Holiday depending on your frame of mind) and a Happy New Year to my gracious LMN readers. Thank you all for sharing and spreading a passion for the art of music and dance. Now as we draw near the end of 2012, I look forward to future shows and tapping away at these keys to continue ‘El Flujo throughout 2013.


Oct 172012

Envision a debonair gentleman in a suave tuxedo gently extending a hand to an elegant lady draped in a gown fit for a princess. Next imagine them embracing in a waltz and gracefully moving effortlessly around a gleaming dance floor lit by crystal chandeliers. You are probably thinking of Cinderella, which is close but it is actually a more realistic fairy tale… and a more competitive one.

Ballroom dancing is alive and well in Louisville and anyone in the Galt House on September 29th or 30th can attest to that. Some might have thought a fairy godmother was nearby with all the regal couples about but they were just participants in the U.S. Pro/Am Ballroom Dance Championship.  Dressed like royalty other than the white patches displaying double digits in black on their back, competitors ages 11 to 89 danced the night away to an assortment of Frank Sinatra and classical compositions. There might have even been a few pairs of glass slippers, but rest assured no pumpkin carriages were waiting in the parking garage.

Ballroom dancing is not just for royalty anymore as everyone is encouraged to participate. Once you witness the fun and fantasy behind the event, you might be compelled to step on the dance floor yourself. The U.S. Pro/Am Ballroom Dance Championship has been celebrated since 1973 and takes place in over 35 states and 25 countries worldwide.

The interesting thing about Ballroom dancing is that it is NOT boring. These couples do not just two step across the floor in mundane patterns. The competition is made up of a variety of types of dance including, but not limited to the Foxtrot, Waltz, Cha Cha, Rumba and the passionate Salsa and Tango dances. Each type and style of dance is more passionate than the next. Since it is a competition, the dancers themselves vary in age, style and performance with each couple offering viewers a unique perspective of individuality.

Ballroom Dance with Tango

Ballroom Dance at Galt House

Ballroom dancing is a regal style of dance, but it is also filled with very formal passion. The noble roots bring an air to the dance floor that other styles of dance often lack. Modern ballroom competitions have melded a variety of cultural dances into the original programming to create a more diverse and entertaining atmosphere for dancers and viewers alike.

Ballroom dancing takes us back to a different era when glamor and elegance was at its height in the world. Those looking to step back in time might enjoy checking out the Louisville Ballroom Club for an introduction and instruction to Ballroom Dancing. They actually have monthly events at the Kosair Shrine Temple at 812 South 2nd Street. Dance enthusiasts can acquire information on the dance studios and clubs around town that provide an outlet for the ever expanding ballroom dance community.

What lady doesn’t like to dress up like a princess and be twirled around the dance floor by her prince? Cinderella might have missed the Ball, but thanks to the growing participants locally, there will be plenty more Ballroom dances coming in the future.

Sep 172012

August is one of my favorite months, but this year I couldn’t wait for it to end. Why? I was waiting for the August 31st Las Flamencas show at the Rudyard Kipling. When I know something is going to be good, I lack patience.

We first had the pleasure of seeing this amazing Flamenco group back on March 17th at the Kentucky Center’s Bombard Theater during their performance of “Mosaico Andalus”. At that time they were known as Flamenco Talk and Camino Flamenco, but have since combined companies and created Las Flamencas.  Mariya Tarakanova and Kristen Mercker are founding mothers of the previously separate entities, and their skill and grace are testimony to their experience in the Flamenco world.

Our view for Las Flamencas’ performance of “Movimiento Flamenco,” provided a very unique perspective thanks to Lisa of the Rudyard. She sat us right in front of the stage. This allowed us to literally ‘feel’ the vibration from the dancer’s movements. The energy on the dance floor caused the wine in our glasses to actually swirl, as if trying to dance to Brent Del Bianco’s guitar.

Unlike the Bombard, The Rudyard stage is snuggled within the confines of the crowd and provided an almost natural feel. It was as if a ‘very’ large family had gathered at a nice villa to watch their favorite performers.  Once the show started people would clap and instinctively stomp, though not as skillfully as the ladies on the stage.

The stage itself was not very large, and initially we thought the dancers might stick to duets or solo, however the limited space did not hinder Las Flamencas.

Mariya Tarakanova provided an introduction to the performance and a brief history on the dance company with the occasional accompaniment of guest singer, Vincente Griego. Afterwards, the first group of dancers exploded on the stage. The Flamenco students Haydee Canovas, Karina Kempter, Holly Jett, Sarah Houston and Renee Murphy started the show with an energetic dance that set the mood for the remainder of the evening.

When Las Flamencas took the stage, the mood elevated even more. The group performances by Mariya Tarakanova, Juliana Brava, Kristen Mercker and Brenna O’Hara were fluidic and soothing at moments and popping with energy the next. Their facial expressions, gestures and rhythmic dance all portrayed the passion they feel for Flamenco. Kristen Mercker did a solo performance that definitely deserves mention. She stepped forward in a beautiful red and black ensemble and the stage came to life with her passion filled, high energy performance. Her charismatic stage presence kept the crowd’s energy spiraling with the pace of her dance. Kristen filled the room with what one could call authentic Flamenco spirit.

Speaking of spirit, one of the most intense and passionate dances of the evening was a duet with Brenna O’Hara and Juliana Bravo. Brenna O’Hara’s posture is reminiscent of her rich history in ballet, and adds an eloquent element to her Flamenco performances. She maintains a natural poise while Juliana adds a tradition based feel for a very complimentary combination. Brenna and Juliana utilized shawls and the effect was magical. The vivid pink and blue shawls danced around the ladies like angelic butterfly wings as they performed. The delicate material seemed almost an extension of the dancers themselves.  If you can envision Flamenco dancing fairies that would get you close to a good visual. It was breathtaking.


The Guest singer, Vincent Griego was jovial throughout the night. He greeted guests as they arrived and interacted with the crowd between performances. His voice would croon the audience and then explode with such raw power that the energy in the room seemed to tremble at the force.

Brent Del Bianco was the solo musician at “Movimiento Flamenco,” but no others were necessary. Brent and his guitar seem to communicate almost telepathically. His fingers delicately graze the strings and a flurry of intricate notes and chords emanate from the instrument, complimented by the dancer’s steps. Vincente Griego announced they’d be ending the night with a festive dance of joy.  Mariya, Kristen, Juliana and Brenna made their final number an outpouring of positive energy. Actually, the entire group of performers seemed to cast a piece of their own personal joy into the audience. The crowd, including the children that attended the Rudyard left the performance happy and upbeat.

Mariya Tarakanova is not only one of the most talented Flamenco dancers in Louisville, but she is also a wealth of information about the art of Flamenco, and willing to share her knowledge. They welcome new students, or anyone interested in learning about traditional dance.

The Rudyard came alive on August 31st with the spirit of Flamenco during “Movimiento Flamenco” thanks to Vincent Griego, Brent Del Bianco and Las Flamencas. Their passion for the traditional Flamenco art ignites a fire on every stage they perform on. This is one group I look forward to seeing again soon, and if you like Flamenco, you should too.

In closing, a few special thanks; Lisa at the Rudyard for the wonderful seating arrangements and the tasty Flam; My photographer, Jonny Shah who edited and arranged the pictures; Mariya, Las Flamencas, Brent Del Bianco, and Vincent Griego for sharing another passionate Flamenco performance.

Aug 142012

If you ask most modern Americans about dance, their initial thoughts probably come in the form of the television show ‘Dancing with the Stars” or the local club scene. However, if you ask a Native American the same question, their thoughts will flow towards the rich history of dance in the tradition of the people, their people.

The American Indian culture is rich in rhythmic, soul enriching dance. The indigenous culture of North American spent thousands of years dancing and enacting the vitality of life itself. They utilize dance as a tool for storytelling, prayer and celebration with each generation passing down the history of the last through tribal dance.

The Native Americans share a special harmonious connection with mother earth. They also shared the ancient belief that everything and everyone were connected, thus their dances usually incorporated a circle formation. The thunderous pounding of handmade drums was the heartbeat of the dance and melodic flutes accompanied their beating. Young warriors once returned from battle or a hunt and acted out their accomplishments and experiences for the tribe with detailed dances. The more warriors that participated, the more their stories unfolded for their tribe.

One of the most known Native dances is The Sun Dance, which was once outlawed in the United States because our government saw it as self-mutilation. However, the Sun Dance is a traditional religious ceremony for the tribal people that signifies a youth becoming a warrior and was originally restricted to the males of the tribe. In some tribal circles the dance also paid homage to the buffalo that supported every aspect of native survival including food, shelter and clothing. The young warriors celebrate this dance by undergoing painful, ritual piercings using eagle talons to gain strength and endurance. The dance entailed traditional drums, the sacred pipe, tobacco offerings, praying and fasting. The Great Mystery receives the sacrifice of flesh while prayers are given to the Tree of Life in direct connection to the Grandfather, aka the Creator.

The Hoop Dance is a beautiful Native dance where shapes are formed like the butterfly, the eagle, the snake and the coyote with the hoops symbolizing the never ending circle of life. The dance itself involves swift gestures and the movement and construction of hoops around the body. The hoops are made to interlock so they extend from the bodies of the dancers to form appendages representing the animals like wings and tails. The hoops themselves are handmade and decorated with colorful tapes and ribbons.

The Hoop Dance

Hoop Dance 2

There are many other beautiful dances done by the Native American people. The dancers also design their own costumes for these ceremonies often involving elaborate head dresses and feathered apparel. Each tribe has their own version of the traditional dances like the Feather Dance, Rain Dance, Ghost Dance etc.

The Feather Dance

The Lakota, Sioux, Cherokee, Cheyenne, and other tribes keep their traditions alive in song and dance. Today these celebrations still happen on reservations and at gatherings like tribal Pow Wow’s. There are several events in Kentucky yearly where one can witness firsthand the incredible energy and traditional dance of the Original Americans. If an opportunity arrives for you to witness one of the amazing Native dances, you should definitely check it out.

Upcoming Events:

Sept. 1st thru 2nd The Native American Heritage Museum Pow Wow at Phillips Farm located at 4116 Cumberland Falls Highway in Corbin KY

Sept. 8th Visceral at Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge

Sept. 29th the BBQ Afterpary with Gatsby ft. Them Bumping Betties and Freaking Freak Machine at Shandies located at 202 Broadway in Paducah.

Oct. 20th and 21st The Native Dawn Pow Wow at 123 Township Square in Lawrenceburg KY


Jul 162012

One thing summer time always brings is street performers and July 2012 has been no exception. An evening walk or a drive through the highlands can often provide plenty of unexpected entertainment.

As the sun drops down, the streetlights become spotlights on the simple concrete stage we commonly call a sidewalk. There is no schedule, elaborate stage props, bright lights or billboard signs to announce the presence of local street performers. In some cases, they just stop, drop and entertain because they enjoy performing for passing crowds. Sometimes they just enjoy performing for themselves. To be honest, it is often the latter I find more entertaining as they are truly at one with their gift.

In July and August, the street becomes a live gallery with a new sound or step every few blocks. From one moment to the next, you may hear an old blues harp reminiscent of the bayou or a cool old cat filling the air with jazzy melodies, thinking back to days long gone.

Sometimes friends cross paths and gather to play hand drums, flutes or guitars. Their melodies often carry positive energy with tribal beats and wandering rhythms. Occasionally someone might even sing or chant a few lines. They all just get lost in the mood and become mesmerized in the moment.

It is not uncommon to see a casually clad belly dancer moving gracefully among the passersby, or swirling between musicians just for fun. Hooley Hooper’s are occasionally spotted near certain establishments in the Highlands too. They tend to play like children twirling about their sparkling hoops, yet they do so with the grace of a cat.

I’ve even seen the occasional break dancer spinning in a parking lot… which though amusing, actually looked painful. There are also those on the streets that cannot dance…at all… yet they do. These brief but disturbing images are usually caught in passing while stifling a giggle.

The Highlands also has its share of buskers, who can be any of the above. The difference is Buskers have fun, gracefully accept tips and have a secret, but traditional bardic code. Apologies, as I can say no more of it.

Street performers can be dancers, guitarists, drummers, or clowns. It doesn’t matter as long as their having fun and people around them are moved by their energy.  These modern day bards can often lift or lower someone’s mood in a matter of seconds with a well-played note.

Street Bards or Buskers may not be on a stage in a club, but they don’t require one. In some ways they are the true independents, free spirits that still feel what they do and don’t play by a set schedule. Next time you see a bard along the street, take a moment and check it out. You may find yourself waking up to a world you never knew existed.


Upcoming events:

August 9th, 10th and 11th Va Va Va Vittles at Headliners located at 1386 Lexington Rd.

Jun 162012

Normally I focus mainly on dance, but this month I wanted to touch on a different subject that I feel deserved a little recognition.

Recently, LMN’s own Paul Moffett brought the music back into a local venue that has been silent for far too long with the exception of the jukebox. Personally, I’ve always seen Paul as the person behind the scenes… and my editor, but he is in fact a talented guitarist that has a knack for bringing other likeminded, talented musicians together.

The referenced venue is Air Devils Inn on Taylorsville Rd, which has been around longer than any other bar in our fair city. Throughout its existence it has seen some famous musicians on its simple stage, which sports a painted mural of many of them. However, for several months ADI grew silent much to the dismay of many that knew it’s musical history.

Paul changed that and started a chain reaction. There is now an acoustic jam every Wednesday starting around 8pm at ADI in which Paul and many others perform. One couldn’t exactly call this an open mic, but it is a similar format.

Last Wednesday featured a wonderful fiddler, harp player, cellist, and several guitarists. Every week a few more people show up with instruments and step on the stage to play a tune. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the performers tend to play a more folk or blues style. Some songs are known, others are just a collaboration of the talent on the stage going with what they feel. Over all, these talented folks provide a very mellow, yet very entertaining evening and… its easy to dance too.

So, props to Paul for bringing music back in the door at ADI.

Like Goth?

Lisa’s Oak St. Lounge at 1004 Oak St presented the Louisville Dark Party on June 9th. This was a DJ event filled with lots of energy, alcohol and dancing. The Louisville Dark Party hosts goth events monthly, so if your into that scene, the dark party is the place to be. You can track future events on Facebook at  https://www.facebook.com/sassafrasdancecompany#!/louisville.darkparty

Raqia, known for her annual charity event Raq’n Around the Christmas Tree, celebrated the derby with her own special type of flair. The Downs After Dark Desert Oasis happened on June 16th at Churchill Downs. As with all Raqia’s shows, there was a talented line up of performers entertaining the crowd with their fluidic belly dance. The lineup was Fairoza, Kelai , Molly, Amy, Serafina, Raqia, and Dominique.

Upcoming events and classes:

Starting on June 18 at 5:00pm until July 23 Mantra Movement Mondays presents BellyJoy for Beginners at the Yoga Artz Hub at 555 South 28th Street Suite C, Paducah

This class is an introduction to belly dance with a focus on alignment and breath {movement with intention} brought to you by Jessica Joy. Jessica will teach with a focus on intention (mantras, + mudras), dance posture, breathing, etc.