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!
“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.
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!
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or 773-969-0140 .
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
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.
Wanna learn a little of Afro-Peruvian dance? Then come to a FREE mini dance flash mob rehearsal tomorrow Sunday October 28 at Africaribe Cultural Center (2547 W Division) between 11am and 1pm. Easy steps and tons of fun. We will do the dance flash mob at a place nearby immediately after rehearsal.
If you can, bring the following:
Casual, comfortable, street clothes (bright-colored tops are preferred)
An empty glass bottle and a metal spoon to be used as musical instrument.
Today is Friday May 13, and some people may be afraid to go out tonight. If you are not, and are actually looking for some options to spend your Friday evening, let me suggest the following shows:
Flamenco and Gypsy Jazz with Alfonso Ponticelli and dancer Cristina Gutierrez at Katerina’s
1920 W Irving Park Rd Chicago
Ponticelli has played gypsy-jazz music for more than a decade, having traveled several times to the annual Django Reinardt Festival in France. He introduced gypsy-jazz to Chicago in the 1990s. A multi-intrumentalist, he won the 1994 U.S. National Mountain Dulcimer Championship and plays both banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philarmonic Orchestra. He’s also a gypsy flamenco guitarist, and went to Cordoba, Spain, to study with the great flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni. I saw this show last month and had a great time. I loved the energy of the place and the people working there, and the connection between the performers and the audience. Here is a sample of what I saw that night:
Las Guitarras de Espana presents an Intimate Evening of Flamenco Music at Uncommon Ground on Devon
1401 West Devon Avenue Chicago
In its incarnation as a small ensemble, Las Guitarras de Espana features the gorgeous vocal melodies of composer Patricia Ortega, the Indian vocalist, Satya and the rhythmic footwork of flamenco dancer Wendy Clinard. The intensity and beauty on display at the front of the stage is anchored by Afro-Cuban percussion, the melancholy cello work of the Syrian artist, Kinan Abou-afach and the studied Spanish guitar of composer Carlo Basile. Las Guitarras de Espana will release its 5th CD, “Tantas Cosas” in 2011. 10pm, $15. Advance tickets only, purchase HERE or call 773-465-9801 for reservations.
ARTango Gala Opening Night Party
4203 N Ravenswood Ave
ARTango Center is a studio that offers group and private tango classes and milongas. Tonight, the studio is proud to present a NEW TANGO HOME in Chicago, a place where you can enjoy tango as well as experience authentic Argentinean culture. With its interior designed and built by Argentineans, who put much effort into creating a vibrant modern space that, at the same time, would have an authentic feel of an Argentinean home, the NEW ARTango home is like a little Buenos Aires in Chicago where everyone can come and dance tango, and feel the heat of the passionate milonga nights.
ARTango wants you to fall in love with tango and become friends with the wonderful people of the ever growing tango-community in Chicago. The studio has FREE Parking and the Gala Opening Night Party is scheduled from 10:00 pm until 5:00 am.Have you ever try Argentinian Asado (BBQ)? Here is your chance to try it because this party will have authentic Argentinian asado. This event is BYOB
Welcome! This blog is dedicated to those interested in exploring a different side of Chicago, one that is culturally diverse, cosmopolitan, global. This city is home to a very diverse group of world musicians and dancers. I want to showcase their talent here and to inspire you to participate in the local world music and dance scene. You will feel there is no need to leave Chicago to travel around the world.