Flamenco Concert, September 15, 2015

We were pleased to welcome two performers for our third annual concert on Sept 15, 2015, Leah Kruszewski on guitar and Yolit Yospe-Kachlon, dancer. We had 80-100 people for Tapas at 6pm provided by Mary Ann and Joe Betchy and Peppi from St.  Asaphs at 6pm. The concert followed at 7pm. We couldn’t have had a better day for the concert with bright sunshine and clear blue sky on an early fall day.  

The first half of the concert was just Leah and second half was both Leah and Yolit.  Leah took questions after the first number in the second half.  Many of her pieces were prepared from compositions from her teachers in Spain and others were smaller pieces put together in an improvised fashion for the concert.   Both were very pleased with the reception of the crowd.  Leah’s family and fellow guitarist Denver were also present.

Leah Kruszewski was active in her native Richmond Virginia giving lessons, organizing Flamenco festivals at VCU, performing solo and with Flamenco/jazz group Suenos Gitanos. She took up flamenco guitar while taking classical guitar. She heard her teacher playing flamenco guitar and as she said she was "hooked." She now lives in Seville, Spain continuing her studies at the intermediate level.  She organized a successful "kickstarter" campaign to pay for her residency.

Yolit, Flamenco dancer, in her words – “I was born and raised in Israel, and fell in love with dancing as a child. I grew up studying different dance genres, such as Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and more. As a teenager, I was introduced to Flamenco and was immediately taken and moved by the music, dance and passion. For me Flamenco is a world of passion, daring, expressing, liberty and endless learning. It enriches my life in so many ways. I hope it never stops. "

I arrived to the US on 2004 and started working as a lead pre-school teacher. Working with children is another love of mine, and I was very lucky to be able to keep growing and investing in both areas.”   Yolit teaches flamenco dance classes for different levels and ages in Washington DC area. " She told me that she suffered an accident while a ballet dancer. "Flamenco saved me."

Flamenco is a folk art that originated from the mixing of four distinct cultural and musical influences, all of which co-existed in Andalucia for several centuries: Moorish (North-African and Muslim), Jewish, Gypsy, and traditional Andalucian. In its most complete form, flamenco involves singing, dancing, and guitar. Flamenco structure and communication function so that experienced dancers and musicians can perform together spontaneously.  The audience was encouraged to interact with the performers to build excitement.

Flamenco dance first appeared as a structured dance in the 18th century. While flamenco’s design in its origin revolves around the hearty voice of the singer, the impassioned flamenco dancers stunned audiences in special music cafés – called cafés cantantes – and quickly began stealing the show.

The role of the flamenco dancer is essentially to physically interpret the words . Flamenco dancing also contains a combination of finger and hand movements (generally in men with both arms raised, in women moving in a serpentine fashion), upper torso bent back to roughly a 45 degree angle, and deliberate foot movement. Dancers keep the beat through finger-snaping, happing clapping or using small percussive instruments, castenets. 

How did guitar get to play a major role in Flamenco music ? Flamenco first became a public, performing art in the second half of the nineteenth century, with the emergence of the cafe cantante. The first cafe cantante opened in Seville in1842, and attracted very little attention. But by the 1860s similar cafés were established not only in the major cities of Andalucia but as far as Madrid, and beyond. An audience of aficionados from all classes and occupations watched the performance. 

We consider these free concerts as part of our outreach to the community around Port Royal. They nourish our souls  while our food and other ministries support basic human needs. Both contribute to the human spirit.

You can still contribute to our concerts – St. Peter’s Episcopal, P. O. Box 399 Port Royal, Virginia 22535 with concert in the memo line. Thanks to for all of your support.

2. Program


3. Photo gallery

Flamenco Concert, Sept 15, 2015 (full size gallery)

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