Scholarship Recipient and Former Student
Recipient of the 2014 Heritage Scholarship
I remember my performance at the Cooper Molera Fandango in 2013, a fundraiser to help support the historic site in Monterey. I was the first one to dance and this intimidated me, with my hands shaking, I felt like I had forgotten all the dance moves that I was about to perform. But then I recalled my teacher telling us before classes and performances: “keep your bien sentado, and take a deep breath, then start dancing when you are ready.” And that is exactly what I did, and suddenly the whole dance just came to me and I did what I went there to do. This experience was very satisfying for me because it helped me to become more confident about myself, about what I know, and what I can do. It certainly was the performance that has matured me as a dancer. Now, Aditi continues to assist my dance education with an important scholarship and studio time where I will develop lineage choreographies for solo performances: a Tango Gitano, a Guajiras, and four distinct coplas of the Sevillanas.
When I am studying in class, I try to carefully imitate what the teacher does, every look and move. When there is a new step that we need to learn, I step back and watch, and once I have studied the compas and ritmo (the characteristic count and beat) and somewhat memorize the step, I try to reproduce it. If I think that is just doesn’t sound the same as her dancing, I stop, and watch again, and then try to do it until the sound satisfies my ear. When we leave the studio to participate in venues doing cuadro flamenco, some of us do variations of the same dance. I prefer to perform after someone else has done that variation, because when this happens, I have seen the dance as a review, and feel more secure doing my own variation when I am performing in front of an audience.
MY EXPERIENCE DANCING
My name is Alin Rios and I have been studying flamenco dance for five years and counting. I chose to study flamenco because of my tenth grade experience in world geography at Seaside High school. My teacher allowed us to have a multi-cultural show during our class period. All of my classmates brought with them a little dance demonstration from their hometown. After we demonstrated our dances, our teacher climbed on top of her desk and started to do these beautiful hand movements, and very dramatic foot work that just made me want to learn more about this amazing form she had shown us. When she finished her piece I asked her what type of dance that was and she said that it was called “flamenco”. I was so taken by it that I tried to get into classes offered by Monterey Peninsula College Dance Outreach program, but it wasn’t possible for me then.
I entered MPC two years after that life changing class. After a semester in college I found out that they were offering flamenco dance so I signed up for the class. At first it seemed very easy, since I have Latin dance background. As the class went on it became very difficult; the coordination was not what I was expecting. I have to admit that there were times when I wanted to quit, but couldn’t, because the more challenging it became the better it seemed.
The Aditi Foundation offered me a scholarship which helped me to pay for the classes. I was honored to have been selected by this great foundation, and their scholarship offerings helped to pay for my classes in distressful times when I could not afford them. I am very thankful to the Foundation and all their supporters who helped me in the past and still do. I thank them for letting me grow more into this art and to keep it alive not only in my classes and performances, but also in my life.
I have danced in public performances and these have been the most amazing experiences in my entire life. Being up on stage, where every one can see you, is an unforgettable experience. You think you might make a fool of yourself and then when you are done dancing, you find out that you were ready to perform. My classmates are wonderful and classes just do not feel like a class. It feels like a family where we can rely on each other and no matter what happens we are always going be there for each other, every step of the way.
Flamenco for me is not only in the classroom; it is a part of my everyday life.
Desde hace ya aproximadamente cinco anos he estado bailando flamenco no como profecional como me gustaria pero si como una estudiante avanzada en esta profecion.
En esos anos he aprendido demaciado y en realidad no lo cambiaria por nada. He participado en mas de ocho eventos en los cuales he aprendido mucho de mi y de este hermoso arte. Asi como ser humilde y no vanidosa, recorrdar de donde venimos y de tener orgullo de nuestras raices y demostrarlo en el baile sin creerse mas que los demas.
Flamenco para mi no solo es una palabra: es historia, arte, leyenda, vida, es creer, es respirar; simplemente una forma de vida.
Tengo que confesar que todo lo que eh logrado con este hermoso arte no hubiese podido ser posible sin la ayuda de tres personas importantes en mi vida. Principalmente mi maestra y mentora Alicia, quien creyo y cree en mi y en mi capasidad y ante todo me tuvo y tiene mucha paciensia.
Segundo, a todo el apoyo de la fundacion aditti la cual me ha estado brindando la oportunidad de ser una de sus estudiantes becados en varias ocaciones y sin su apoyo no hubiese podido seguir tomando las clases de flamenco .
por ultimo a todas las personas que me han apoyado en este camino que decicdi tomar, no ha sido el mas facil pero sin duda alguna el mas gratificante.
En si, estos cinco anos bailando flamenco han sido los mejores. Al principio fue un tanto dificil ya que la cordinacion de este hermoso baile te toma mucha practica y disiplina, pero despues que se toma uno el tiempo que este baile requiere al final vale la pena.
El simple hecho de estar en el esenario y sentir los aplausos del publico al final del del baile es casi como tocar el cielo con las manos y no querer dejarlo ir. El practicar una pieza por tantos meses y para esos cinco minutos en el esenario sin dida alguna no los cambiaria por nada ya que crea recuerdos muy valiozos que nunca nadie te podra arrebatar.
Sin duda alguna el poder bailar flamenco se a convertido en la dicha mas grande de mi vida.