Sept. 29-30: International Dance Festival at Flagler College

By Ed Albanesi

Community columnist

Lewis Auditorium at Flagler College will be the site of the inaugural St. Augustine International Dance Festival. A performance, featuring local, regional and international dancers is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at 7 p.m.

The festival also includes two workshop sessions with master class instruction provided by Andy Valladon, Aranza Flores and Herman Ramos.
Classes will be held Friday, Sept. 29, 2017 from 6-7:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9:30-11 a.m. Both sessions will be conducted at Abella’s School of Dance at 1711 Lakeside Ave. (across from Cobblestone) with registration costing $50.

Valladon was trained at Brazil’s Studio de Dancas Cristina Helena. He then spent four years as principal dancer with the Minas Gerais Dance Company.
Flores graduated with honors from Mexico’s La Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlán. She plans to dance in the performance on Saturday evening.

Ramos earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University and studied classical ballet and modern technique at Gainesville’s Santa Fe College. He is a specialist in breakdance and hip-hop choreography.
The workshops will focus on ballet, modern and contemporary dance. The St. Augustine Ballet is sponsoring both the workshops and Saturday evening’s performance. Emily Masson, assistant director of the Ballet, said she hopes the festival will become an annual event.

Luis Abella, artistic director of the Ballet, has made a habit of introducing his students to dance instructors and principal dancers with international backgrounds.

“Dance is a universal language,” said Abella. “ A dancer who might speak only English and another who might speak only Spanish can get on stage together and communicate a message everyone in the audience can understand.”

Regional dancers at the performance include a group representing the St. Lucie Ballet. Since it’s inception in 2004 the St. Lucie Ballet has been directed by Lydia Oquendo Corrales and her husband, Rogelio Corrales.

Local dancers participating in the performance include Jenny Albanesi, Marla Ayrish, Danielle Bleau, Katherine DeAcutis, Arianna Fleischman, Harlow Hatin, Grace Karger, Kali Lee, Devin Mantei, Emily Screnock, Ella Wimpelberg and Elea Woodward.

Tickets for the Saturday evening performance are $15 and will be available one hour before the performance at Lewis Auditorium. Advance tickets can be purchased at Abella’s School of Dance from 3:30-7 p.m. on Sept. 27-29, 2017. For more information call 904-824-1746.

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