Video of Dance Flashmob at Novalima Concert in Chicago

We did it again! Our dance flashmob during Novalima’s concert at Clark Street Wold Music Festival  was a lot of fun and here is the video to prove it. Thanks to everyone who participated, and specially to Milagros Guerrero Ormeño, lead singer of the Peruvian dance band, Novalima, for being our accomplice!

Do you have any ideas for another flashmob? Leave your comment here. We want to hear it!

The Day I Fell in Love with House Music – Chicago Pays Tribute to Frankie Knuckles

“I think dancing is one of the best things anyone can do for themselves. And it doesn’t cost anything,” Frankie Knuckles.

Honestly, I have heard of House music before and paid an occasional visit to Smart Bar, but never really connect with it…until a couple of days ago, when I attended this epic dance party that the city of Chicago threw to celebrate the life of the Godfather of House music, Frankie Knuckles, who recently passed away. Chicago got together, danced and partied in peace. People from all ages and walks of life were present and created a happy, captivating energy! Check a little bit of the party’s awesomeness in this video:

This type of events make me love this beautiful city even more (yes, I love you Chicago – can you tell by all the bragging I do about you?), AND they also awaken my curiosity. So, I talked to David Chavez from Sound Culture, to get some answers about the House music culture in Chicago. He is also a Music Program Coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events of the City of Chicago and was one of the brains behind this historic tribute. Here he is sharing his perspective about the House music phenomenon:

What is House music to you?
From a sociological perspective, House music to me is the product of a cultural and socio-economic time in the city, reflective of what was going on in Chicago during the 70’s and early 80’s. An alternative to the stranglehold of a segregated city, the height of 1970’s white flight and economic decay, and the backlash of black popular dance music, Disco.

From a human experience perspective, it was and still is Church for a lot of people, whatever that means to you. A safe space of acceptance to come as you are and celebrate life together without regard to race, class, or sexual orientation. It’s a release of energy and a spiritual recharge all at once. It’s a community that became a culture.

Off the top of my head I can’t really explain it another way, and any Chicago House head would agree, and expand on what I’m trying to say here.

What is the significance of House Music in Chicago?
House Music was born and developed here in Chicago and revolutionized electronic dance music globally. It’s part of our Chicago musical heritage next to Jazz, Blues, and Gospel.

Who was Frankie Knuckles and why did the City of Chicago host a dance party in his honor?
Frankie Knuckles was a DJ and producer who, in the mid to late 70’s, developed the sound that we call House Music today. His continued innovations and influence on DJ’s and producers around the world cemented the House sound. He is the “Godfather of House” and an ambassador for our city.

What places would you recommend visiting to immerse in the House music culture in Chicago?
Go to Gramophone Records, pick up 5 Magazine and read about the scene and various daily club events happening, attend the Chosen Few Picnic 4th of July weekend, and listen to mixes on deephousepage.com.

I hope the City of Chicago realizes that there is a need to have an event celebrating House music every year. After all, as David Chavez said, it is part of our musical heritage, and it is a global musical phenomenon that originated in Chicago. Events such as the dance party tribute to Frankie Knuckles – being held in public spaces at no charge – encourage integration and help promote the city as a global cultural destination. Kudos Chicago, you scored big with this one!

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Win Tickets to CumbiaSazo Party this May 31st

I have two tickets to give away to the CumbiaSazo dance party happening this Saturday May 31st! If you don’t know what CumbiaSazo or cumbia is, keep reading. David Itzi Nallah from CumbiaSazo explains it all. This party seems to be ideal for global urban explorers!
To enter for a chance to win a pair of complimentary tickets, leave a comment below. The winner will be selected randomly and notified via email on May 30, 2014.

What is CumbiaSazo?

CumbiaSazo is a DIO (do-it-ourselves) party that brings together various DJs, bands, and visual artists for a night of dancing & surprises. Only happening a few times a year and usually in different locations, the theme is broadly that of being future-rooted, or of looking back while looking forward, and I think offers something unique for a generation of partygoers who want to honor their immigrant roots while forging some kind of new identity in progress. Musically, the party represents a newer Chicago local/global flavor that digresses from the old term of ‘world music’ and instead embraces an almost rave-spirited mixing and mashing of global rhythms that’s fit for a club. Additionally we try to fundraise for local organizations doing good work and so it’s a whole melting pot of communities joining in to create a vibe. Diverse art for diverse people is something we think is hard to find in a party space (especially in a mainstream club environment), so the party is something our collective experiments with by adding in whatever elements people think would be fun- music, bands, art, decor, puppets, piñatas, food, etc.

What is cumbia?

Cumbia is a music genre and family of rhythms popular throughout Latin America that originated in Colombia & Panama during 17th century slavery as a courtship/communicative dance and was born of a cultural mix of black and indigenous backgrounds. Still a peoples music and not quite mainstream, the rhythm has the syncopated feel of a heartbeat, which makes for great bodily dancing, and could be considered a backbone rhythm of Latin America while still being wholly connected to the tree trunk that is African sound from which all other music genres come. While the traditional instruments and influences have morphed and melded across the American continents over time, what’s intriguing to us is that today’s young people of Colombia and connected countries worldwide are re-mixing and re-intepreting cumbia as a way of breathing life into their cultural heritage while having some fun.

Why should we go see your show this May 31st?

Because we work so hard to put it together! Hehe. No really, I would say if you’re curious about new music, enjoy shaking your hips on a dance floor rather than pumping your fists, or consider yourself a ‘global citizen’ in any way, this party’s probably for you.

Why did you choose Thalia Hall in Pilsen for this party?

It was a difficult decision actually. After being underground the past years and even throwing a large warehouse party in Pilsen with it last year, we decided to go above-ground and find legit venues this season. On the one hand at 1200 capacity, Thalia Hall is a space in the city that could accommodate the rising popularity of the party where there are so few affordable options. It’s also in our dear Pilsen neighborhood where many of our organizers live and play, so it’s home and makes sense. However, with its re-opening in the context of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood I think everyone is wondering what is going to come out of its re-introduction on 18th street. Undoubtedly, the space is mysterious and beautiful and will bring in some internationally-renowned talent to Pilsen’s doorsteps, which can be good, but no one knows what it will look like exactly. Rather than shy from that unknown and bring our beloved party to north-side neighborhoods where the big venues live, we wanted the challenge of introducing people to Thalia Hall for the first time and thought that having this many people, mostly from the area, under this roof, would forge a feeling that hasn’t been felt here in a while. That’s the intention at least and we’re excited to find out what that feeling will be.

The whole music line up and bios are here

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Get an Exclusive Preview of Studio Mangiameli Flamenco Show!

Do you like flamenco or are interested in exploring this dance form? Then take advantage of this opportunity! Studio Mangiameli is inviting four of you, Chicago Urbanite followers,   to attend a final dress rehearsal and get a  sneak peek of its upcoming annual student showcase on Thursday May 29th.  The show is titled Tides and it is an exploration of the moments that leave indelible marks on human lives and alter the landscape of identity. Tides features original live music from some of Chicago’s most recognized flamenco and world music players, including Carlo Basile (Las Guitarras De España), guitarist Diego Alonso and percussionist Bob Garrett, soon to appear in Sting’s new musical, The Last Ship. World-renowned flamenco singer Vicente “El Cartucho” Griego will be this year’s very special guest.

Just leave a comment down below and I will include your name on the guest list. In the meantime, here is a short but insightful interview with Chiara Mangiameli, the director and creator of Tides, about her life-changing experience with flamenco and her inspiration for this show.

 

Please tell us about your background and how you got involved with flamenco.

I have a strong background in theater and additionally I dabbled in various forms of dance throughout my youth and adulthood, from ballet to tap to African dance. Nothing stuck until I found flamenco. The truth is the Gypsy Kings were what got me interested in the more traditional Andalusian art form. I fell in love with the percussive sound of the guitar and the unmistakable melisma of the voice. Ironically I knew nothing of the dance form but once I took my first class, I never looked back and eventually ended up in Seville several times over the course of a few years to immerse myself completely in the music and culture. The inherently dramatic and individualistic emphasis of this dance style felt like a perfect fit.

 

This production is inspired by stories of critical moments in your students’ lives. Can you recall one story in particular that specially touched you?

First, let me say that I tend to draw inspiration from my students because I’m always amazed and touched by the amount of resilience and dedication they have. Everyone that so generously shared a piece of their private life with me had a very moving and genuine story. I can’t say that there was one in particular that touched me more than another, simply because there are aspects of all the stories that I found myself relating to, whether as a dancer, an immigrant, a daughter, a woman.

 

Why should we go see your show? What can we expect?

I strive to present dance and particularly flamenco, in a context that illustrates more than a choreography or a series of movements accompanied by music. I’m interested in why we choose to dance, what makes us vulnerable, transparent, what allows us to relate to each other as human beings. You can expect beautiful original music by my incredible collaborators, a special guest flamenco singer who will knock your socks off, and forty plus dancers that have been looking forward to this show for eight months and have a clear voice and point of view about their place on that stage. My hope is that the audience will be able to relate to some of the stories they hear because at the end of the day, we all have our struggles with navigating the changing tides.

 

Performances will take place at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N Noble Street in Chicago, on May 30 and May 31st at 7:30PM CST and on June 1st at 4:30PM CST. Tickets are $25 and $15 for children ages 12 and under. Parking is free.

Get Tickets

Tides Show Studio Mangiameli

 

 

This weekend: Flamenco “Quejios” with Chiara Mangiameli

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Directed and created by Chiara Mangiameli, whom the Chicago Tribune hailed as a “formidable flamenco dancer” for her work alongside Rick Bayless in the 2012 Lookingglass Theater production of Cascabel, “Quejios – Cries In The Air” is inspired by the emotional range and power of the flamenco voice.

Showcasing the traditional songs and dances of Andalusia thread together by original poetry from Madrid-based writer Luis Lorente and soundscapes designed by Static Studios, the show will take audiences on a journey from the joy and sensuality of a “cantinas” to the sorrowful, unrelenting rhythm of a “seguiriya” all the while showcasing the talents of student dancers, from the novice to the most advanced, alongside Chiara Mangiameli performing her new solo work. Featuring some of Chicago’s best flamenco and world music musicians, this year will also add guest singer and Seville native Alfonso Cid to the line-up. Other performers will include Carlo Basile and Diego Alonso on guitars and Bob Garrett on percussion.

Performances will take place at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N Noble Street in Chicago, on May 31st and June 1st at 8pm. A June 2nd performance at 5pm will be followed by a show discussion and meet and greet with the artists. Tickets are $25 and $15 for children ages12 and under.

GET TICKETS​​​​​

Learn to dance Zouk for free!

Zouk (pronounced “Zuke”) is a partner style coming from the Latin category but has become the first structured partner dance to incorporate significant elements of jazz and contemporary movement. It is presented at world music and dance festivals, but for the most part it is performed in nightclubs. Dance comes in two speeds with separate choreography (below are 2 videos showing different styles. There are others as well). This dance is extremely popular in Europe, South America, parts of Asia and Africa and it is slowly growing on the east and west coasts of the U.S.

Music utilized is sensual (light or heavy) French Caribbean Zouk and Portuguese Cape Verdean Zouk with a little Flamenco-Rumba and a few other anglo songs with a similar beat (the videos shown at bottom of this post are performance oriented and do not represent those musical styles; they are representative).

My friend Randy Nufer, an avid promoter of Zouk dance in Chicago, is looking for a female dance partner for performances and class instruction.
This is not a salaried position. However, once training is complete, performance, instructional and other small business opportunities can be realized. It is an opportunity to help build a community in Chicago and make a name for oneself.

Complete training included as part of the deal at NO CHARGE. If there is enough interest, it is possible that more than one female can be trained. Rehearsal studio is located in West DePaul/Lincoln Park.

Desired qualifications / time requirements:

Someone who is dedicated and dependable (meeting 2x times per weekday evenings and weekend afternoons if necessary for training and practice. Availability for performances and or instruction once a recurring event is launched.
Ethnicity unimportant
Some classical training – Contemporary/Jazz/Ballet
Will need to have fairly flexible back
Free flowing hair. It doesn’t have to be as long as shown in the videos below. It can be medium length. But it needs to move to create an effect. If one has long coarse hair, braids are a good solution.
Someone who can breathe life into the dance and enjoys experimenting with new movement and choreography.
Light acrobatics may be employed. TBD.

Please send short description of your dance background to zoukdancers@yahoo.com or whatever other material you would like to share. Looking to train soon!

Have questions about the dance? Ask another female Zouk dancer from Chicago: Katherine M. at kmetres@yahoo.com or 773-969-0140 .

Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITRCYkFMqfk

Dance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KNhi7eVQg0

Music: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xsre7n_fanny-j-sa-ke-ay-yourzouktv_music?search_algo=2#.UXNA9KJg-mA
Music: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xe9j9q_darius-denon-mes-larmes_music?search_algo=2#.UXaq-KLUemA

Dance Flash Mob happening this Saturday

After a few months of silence, I am back ready to continue help you discover cool dance and music activities happening in Chicago. Talking about dancing in Chicago, I know many of you are interested in dance flash mobs, so I want to pass along this information. Flash Mob America is coming to Chicago on April 25 for a marriage proposal flash mob. They are recruiting people to dance with them. If you are interested, then register here to join: Http://goo.gl/VCkPi

Also, I want to invite all of you to a party on May 4 at 10 pm that will celebrate dance/popular music from the 80s, 90s, and beyond in English in Spanish. It is called Party of the Americas! This is a costume-optional party, so feel free to dress as one of your favorite singers from the 80s and 90s or wear the fashion of the era. Be creative and have gun doing it! Click here to RSPV
Location: Little Bucharest Bistro 3661 N Elston Chicago
No Cover

Do you want to have your favorite song added to the playlist? Leave a comment here and we will pass it along to our DJ.

Hope to see you there!

Join a dance flashmob in Chicago on Valentine’s Day

On the day of Love, show some love and join this dance flashmob to stop violence against women. Rosetta Magdalen from Flamenco Chicago Dance Studio LLC is organizing this event as part of a global initiative called “One Billion Rising”.  V-Day, the organization behind this initiative, is inviting ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence. According to their website:

By being a part of One Billion Rising we will all discover our solidarity and the scope of this issue. We will come to know that ending violence against women is important and it is not a local issue or particular to any culture or religion. We will come to see what is possible. When One Billion bodies rise and dance on 14 February 2013, we will join in solidarity, purpose and energy and shake the world into a new consciousness.

The event will take place  this Thursday, Feb. 14 at Union Station with flash mob occurring at 5 and 5:30pm. There is a rehearsal today from 2pm to 4pm at Flamenco Chicago Studio (2914 W. Belmont Ave. Chicago). If you can’t make it to rehearsal, here is the video you can use to rehearse the choreography at home:

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And this is the song that will be used for the dance flashmob around the world:

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Want to participate?  Visit the Facebook event page for details: https://www.facebook.com/events/483715515001164/

In addition to this flashmob there are other events happening in Chicago. Click here for additional information.

 

Strike Dance Rise
Strike Dance Rise

MUST-SEE EVENTS FOR JANUARY

Let’s Dance at the Chicago Cultural Center

As winter takes hold, swing into the new year with Winter Dance 2013 on January 4, 5, and 6 at the Chicago Cultural Center. It’s Winter’s version of SummerDance! Winter Dance will bring people of all ages and skill levels together in the Yates Gallery with free, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by music and dancing. The diverse musical lineup showcases popular dance styles.

Friday, January 4, 2013
Swing Band: The Flat Cats
Dance Studio: Big City Swing – East Coast Swing
6:00pm-9:30pm

Saturday, January 5, 2013
Salsa Band: Carpacho y Su Super Combo
Dance Studio: Latin Rhythms – Salsa
6:00pm-9:30pm

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Ballroom Band: Teddy Lee Orchestra
Dance Studio: Fox Trot
4:00pm-7:00pm

Also at the CCC: Wired Fridays with Chicago Djs

Wired Fridays is a series of LunchBreak concerts featuring DJs and electronic music. From ambient to dance, the world of DJs and soundscape artists will be uncovered each Friday through May. The LunchBreak Series will also continue to feature music of all genres on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Click here for more information.

January 7-13: Free Dance Lessons with the American Rhythm Center

The American Rhythm Center (ARC), located in the Fine Arts Building on 410 S. Michigan Ave, 3rd Floor, is a collaborative, nonprofit space providing dance and movement/fitness classes to the public. A free week of dance classes is being offered at the ARC starting Monday, January 7. The ARC will host a “Tour the ARC” promotion, allowing the public to take one (1) free class from each of the different organizations from 1/7-1/13. The ARC is host to a variety of dance styles from Bollywood to hip hop to Chicago-style footwork to tap and contemporary jazz to NIA (a mind/body awareness movement class) to flamenco! Click here for more information.

Check out the American Rhythm Center website at www.arcchicago.org. The center opened this past October as a program of the Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP) and is supported by  a partnership among seven (7) Chicago dance companies and arts organizations, including the Giordano Dance, Kalapriya, Cerqua Rivera, and Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute, to offer classes for the first time to the public. 

January 11: Rumba Reggae Party with my band Nu Bambu 

We are taking over the stage of Underground Wonder Bar once more for some live and original Chicago Rumba-Reggae music.  Nu Bambu will perform at 8pm. $5 Cover and good drink specials. Get ready to dance and have a great time! RSVP here

January 20: Join Chicago Urbanite at the Peruvian Young Professional Network

4pm
3856 N Ashland Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60613

Socialize and mix business with pleasure at this fun Peruvian Young Professionals Networking event. Make new friends, expand your list of business contacts and learn about Peruvian culture. We will celebrating the Anniversary of the City of Lima. Admission includes complimentary appetizers, one drink, a special performance of traditional music from Lima by Peruvian Tenor Javier Bernardo (member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago), and a mini class of marinera limeña, a traditional dance from Lima. $10 in advance/$15 at the door. It is recommended to buy tickets in advance. Limited space available. Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

January 25: Afro-Latino Drum Circle and Concert with Chota Madre 

1000 N. Milwaukee Ave (top floor), Chicago, Illinois 60642
9pm
$7

Join us for a drum circle session and concert with Chota Madre, the only Ecuadorian band outside of Ecuador that promotes Afro-Ecuadorian bomba music. They will be visiting Chicago for the first time and will share their cultural movement with us. Bomba was born and flourished from the cultural exchange between the indigenous, mestizo and African communities living in proximity in the Carchi and Imbabura provinces of Ecuador. Bomba is characterized by the percussion bomba drum, handmade by the African descendants living in the area. Together the requinto guitar, the guiro, and male and female voices transmit color, feeling and passion to the people. It is suggested to bring a percussion instrument or anything that can be used as a percussion instrument such as cans, buckets, pipes, etc. You can also bring any other musical instrument.
One need not possess or purchase a drum or be a musician to participate. The participants make up the music as they go along, using their listening and playing skills to make musical connections and express themselves in any way that feels right. Participation is voluntary and often includes drumming, singing or chanting, dancing, and listening. $7. Click here for more information.