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:
NOCHE FLAMENCO AT CAFFE CLASSICO
Friday, August 23, 2013
9:30-11:00 pm
2144 Frankfort Ave
Cover: $10.00

KY STATE FAIR PERFORMING ARTS STAGE
Sunday, August 25, 2013
11:00 am
North Wing Lobby.

WORLDFEST
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

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.