Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

Established 1885

The Washburn Review

45 Grados Flamenco share Hispanic heritage and dance at Washburn

45 Grados Flamenco performs ‘Orígenes’ in the Neese Gray Theatre

Special guests from 45 Grados Flamenco performed in the Neese Gray Theatre Saturday, Dec. 2, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event was sponsored by several Washburn departments and supported by grants supporting cross-cultural exchange.

Flamenco is a Spanish dance style, that is, the clicks of heels and claps echoed through the stage. The 45 Grados Flamenco showcase, “Orígenes,” conveyed Flamenco’s cultural blending over centuries through singing, musical instruments, dance, documentary films and projected visuals.

Melinda Hedgecorth was the main dancer of the event. As Hedgecorth’s intricate footwork beat rhythms across the wooden platform, there were images displayed behind the dancers that depicted Flamenco’s emergence from Moorish, Roma, African and Andalusian influences in southern Spain. Musical selections likewise reflected the genre’s evolution from ancient chants to fusion with modern styles such as Gozyazi, Tangos de Triana, Alegrias, La Tarara, Nana, Abre la Puer Nina and Farruca.

True to Flamenco’s expressive nature, 45 Grados chose “La Tarara,” honoring a “crazy girl” – symbolizing outcasts.

“Well, the meaning of this actually is that there’s a poem about a crazy girl. It’s about the character. In every little town, it seems that someone with some sort of disability, they were like always objective,” said Antonio Rojas, singer and guitarist. “[…] instead of pointing down the fact that she had a disability, he made it look like a happy girl, and open-minded and all that. So in a way it’s really positive like trying it out and trying to diverge the bullying aspect of it, but you’re really making us think about those people who deserve more.”

Hedgecorth trained extensively in Spain between 2004-2018, absorbing the nuances of Flamenco from leading dancers and guitarists. In Hedgecorth’s perspective, Flamenco is a long journey to discover and it takes lots of passion and time.

“I still go back every year and take classes and study because it’s never-ending. Flamenco is very deep. As you saw today, like there’s so much involved in it. And it’s something that you never get tired of because there’s always so much you can learn. Always. It never ends,” Hedgecorth said.

Tina Williams, study abroad program coordinator, shares why she invited 45 Grados Flamenco to Washburn to perform “Orígenes” for the community.

“I actually saw this performance in Kansas City about three years ago at a museum, and I thought it was a really beautiful performance not only entertaining but also educational,” Williams said. “So I thought that a perfect venue would be Washburn University. Flash forward a few years, I wrote a grant this summer that I received from the Kansas Commerce Department. It’s called the Arts Integration Grant, and it provided half of the funds to bring this ensemble to Washburn.”

The performance blended cultures and brought together Washburn organizations and Kansas City artists to share an impactful experience propagating Hispanic heritage. As a performance night, “Orígenes” brings people together, creates a sense of community and provides opportunities for shared enjoyment and appreciation of Flamenco.

Edited by Jayme Thompson and Aja Carter

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Hi, I am Khoa from Vietnam, a senior in marketing and data analytics at Washburn University. I am a photographer and content creator for Washburn Review. I enjoy my job for Washburn Student Media because I have a chance to make friends with new students, and participate in many events and activities.I also enjoy photography and filmmaking because I can capture moments for everyone around me. After graduation, I plan to be a marketing manager or art director and continue working with photography.
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