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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Free dance lessons at the Kennedy Center

In the nightly sky above the roof line at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, it's not the moon or a star or a plane from nearby National Airport, it's a street light/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Estela Velez de Paradez led a flamenco dance lesson at the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/Photo by Patricia Leslie
First, you put your hands in the air/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Then, you wave them all about/Photo by Patricia Leslie
 Flamenco dancing is good for the middle/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Instructor Estela Velez de Paradez invited audience members up on the Millennium Stage for a flamenco dance lesson at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts/Photo by Patricia Leslie
Can you do it? A one-on-one exchange, and the little girl dressed for the occasion/Photo by Patricia Leslie
A star is born at the Millennium Stage/Photo by Patricia Leslie

I could have danced all night

I could have danced all night

And still have begged for more.

I could have spread my wings 

And done a thousand things...


Dancing was not why I was there!

Dancing was not on my menu, but rather...

Music, music, music!

I went to the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage to hear free music, music, music, and drink Happy Hour beer and eat pretzels.

But, but, music, music, music to be found... or heard.

How about a flamenco dance lesson instead?

Estela Velez de Paradez of Joy of Motion Dance Center led the class, and she stomped.  

Her new students stomped.

She raised her hands.  

The students raised their hands.

She shouted "olé!"  

The students shouted "olé."  

She shouted "olé!" again and demanded a louder "olé!" response, and she got it.

Ms. Velez de Paradez gave a brief history of flamenco dancing (created by Gypsies "to express their emotions") and compared the dance to vino:  "It's like wine; it gets better the older you get" (!)), and she urged everyone present to practice attitude and posture, both critically important to successful flamenco dancing.  

"Stand up straight!  Hold your stomach in!" 

      You put your right foot in,
You take your right foot out,

You put your right foot in,

And you shake it all about

You do the hokey pokey

and you turn yourself around

That's what it's all about

Hold it!  That was not what Estela was leading, and there was no music.

Horrors!  If music ever started, was it to be taped a la Warner's and the Nutcracker?  No musicians nor instruments were seen.

After 30 minutes of stomping and hand wavin' and "ole's" and no signs of music making, I left at 6:30 p.m. and drifted home.  Sad.  

Whoever thought of looking at the schedule?

Coming up!  Another free dance lesson on January 31, 6 p.m., Millennium Stage, Beginner Contemporary Jazz with Jocelyn Isaac. "Please wear clothing you can move in" the Kennedy Center suggests.

When:  Free Millennium Stage performances seven days a week at 6 p.m. which last generally under an hour

Where: The Kennedy Center, 2700 F Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20566

How much: Admission is always free at the Millennium Stage.

Metro station: Foggy Bottom. Ride a free red shuttle bus (every 10 minutes) at the top of the escalators at Foggy Bottom to KenCen or walk it (10 minutes).

For more information:  800-444-1324 or 202-467-4600

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