EXPRESSION- Fiona Malena

Exotic and unique dance style launched locally

A group of Red Deer and area residents will soon be starting their Flamenco dance lessons with Fiona Malena, a well-known dancer and instructor.

“I have never taught in Red Deer, it is a community that I would love to get to know. I have had students drive out to Calgary for classes when I am teaching there, so I know there is a great enthusiasm and need to have Flamenco instruction in Red Deer.”

Having started March 6 and continuing on Sundays until May 8, Malena will coach, critique and cheer on the students of the Flamenco dance class.

“[Flamenco] is a dance that is rooted in culture and tradition, however, each movement is so personal that the dance becomes so much more: an expression of the self and the moment,” said Malena.

She has been choreographing and presenting stage performances since 2001.

While Malena has tried ballet, jazz, funk, Afro-Cuban and salsa dance styles, she chose Flamenco over all of them.

“[Flamenco] is a dance that has longevity, I will be dancing and performing as long as I can walk.”

The classes she will be teaching in Red Deer are for all levels of dancers and specifically are open to beginners.

“The eight-week Flamenco session will be an introduction to many aspects of Flamenco; the basic movements and form, styling, the hand and arm movements, footwork, the exciting rhythmic patterns, the music and culture.”

Malena has never competed in Flamenco as her focus is on sharing her knowledge of and passion for the art form.

Flamenco, as described by Malena, is a lot less structured than many other dances and does not promote itself to the competitive circles.

“The dance is a direct response and impulse to the music and rhythms created in a performance.”

Malena has shared her knowledge of the dance in Vancouver and Kelowna recently.

“I am especially interested, however, in bringing Flamenco to communities where there is little opportunity to learn or experience it but where there is opportunity for the ‘afición’ or interest to grow.”

This particular form of dance is especially popular throughout Europe, North America and Latin America. Unknown to many, the country that has the most Flamenco is Japan.

In the past Malena has taught some children’s lessons, but focuses primarily on adults of all ages.

“Dance in general however, is a wonderful way to stay healthy, develop better body awareness and balance, improve posture and overall well-being.”

Malena encourages people who do not know a lot about the art form to go online and watch video clips.

“I hope they will be so fascinated by what they see that they come to the classes or tell their friends.”

For more information, visit www.fionamalena.com. To register, call 403-343-8409.

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