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Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Northwest News

For Nona, Flamenco is more than music; it is life

BY JEFF BERLINICKE
Special Correspondent

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You’re not going to see a lot of Flamenco dancers rocking out at area proms.

Nona — she goes simply by one name — specializes in the unique art of Flamenco dancing, and takes it seriously.

Flamenco, as a style, is a form of Spanish folk music. Normally associated with Spain, it is an extremely emotional style of dance, and the outfits worn by the dancers are just as important as the dance itself. Nona, who often entertains and teaches at Hummingbird Gardens on North Henderson Road, is a longtime practitioner of the art. She brings the same passion to talking about Flamenco dancing as she does when she demonstrates it among the fruit and vegetable gardens at Hummingbird Gardens.

According to Nona, the dancers try to express themselves with the deepest emotions they have, using movement and facial expressions. They clap and kick and snap small percussion instruments called castanets.

It’s unique, but, like the dance itself, Nona is passionate about what she does.

“This is old style dance, but it is beautiful,” Nona said. “It is Spanish in style and it’s as much about how we dress and snap the castanets as it is about the dance itself. It’s very popular in places like New York and I want it to grow in Tampa.”

Nona said there is a lot of gypsy in the Flamenco style.

“We start teaching with footwork,” Nona said. “You then learn how to clap, clap the castanets, and then put it all together. It is all about being a gypsy. Most of the people who learn this have been dancing their whole lives like this. It is part of the culture.”

Nona said she does it because it makes her happy. It’s a way of life, not just an exercise.

“I love to do Flamenco dancing,” Nona said. “You learn the rhythm, the steps, and you get inspired. I like being happy. There’s too much to cry about in the world. Look at me. I am happy.”

Nona said she does festivals throughout all of Tampa throughout the year. She’s taking a break, but plans to get back to teaching and dancing in early October. She has been involved in ballet her whole life, but teaching and performing the Flamenco has become her passion.

“I am doing this until I drop,” Nona said. “I don’t want to do anything else.”

To get into contact with Nona, contact Hummingbird Gardens at (813) 264-1643.

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