When she dances and teaches the art of Flamenco, she is “La Magdalena.” The rest of the time, you can call her “neighbor.”
An accomplished artist who has studied with the masters in Andalucía, Spain, Magdalena (née Madeleine) is in Forest Hills, DC via New York City and Seville. She has been performing and teaching Flamenco for more than 20 years, and starting Thursday, September 10th, she will lead a weekly class for beginners at Chevy Chase Baptist Church (5671 Western Avenue, details below).
Magdalena was first drawn to Flamenco as a student abroad, shopping at the market on the border of Salamanca and Portugal. She picked up a cassette tape that caught her attention because of the painting on the cover of a horse.
“That night I went to my room and listened to the tape over and over again, following the lyrics on the back and trying to tap out the rhythms on the cassette case,” she said. “As a kid I had taken piano, and I’ve always had a good ear. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t make sense of these songs! This wailing, gravelly voice, the percussion, the way the guitar created rhythm and melody interchangeably.”
“Mostly I was shocked and excited about how the music made me feel. I knew I had to keep trying to piece it together.”
Magdalena later learned that the dusty cassette from the mercado was “Potra de Rabia y Miel” by Camarón de la Isla. Camarón was one of the pioneers of modern flamenco cante (song) and an award-winning artist.
“He died at 42 from lung cancer,” she said, “that very summer I walked along the frontera aimlessly looking for something to be or do. To this day, the Potra album sets me free when I hear it, shaping my future, telling me about what is worth holding onto in life.”
For professional performers, Magdalena said, Flamenco is a language we can all speak to each other. You can start learning the language on September 10th!
Introduction to Flamenco Dance
Enjoy the music and experience the fascinating, mysterious culture of Flamenco … OLE!
• palmas (hand clapping)
• taconeo (footwork),
• marcaje (graceful arm & hand movement)
Train your ears along with your body as you explore the seductive rhythmic patterns of Flamenco!
Whether you’d like to perform some day or just get a workout… join us! You will enjoy an intense, full body warm-up designed to increase flexibility, strength, and endurance, followed by a lesson in basic Flamenco technique and choreography.
This class is for absolute beginners. No experience is necessary… and you don’t need a partner either! Women, men and young adults welcome.
When: Every Thursday starting September 10, 7:00 – 8:15 p.m.
Where: Chevy Chase Baptist Church (CCBC) 5671 Western Avenue, NW • Washington, DC 20015
How much: $20 to drop-in, $180 10-class card (expires 12/17/15)
Who: Anyone looking for a new adventure
What to wear: Close fitting top and loose pants or long flowing skirt; closed toe shoes with hard heel. (No sneakers or stilettos please!)