October 17, 2019

VIDEO: Alumna returns to teach, dance the flamenco

Linsey Daman flips open a white fan and taps her heels on a wooden floor as she dances the flamenco to “Iberia de Carlos Sauka.” Daman, a 2008 French graduate of Cultural Arts Center (CAC) of St. Louis, came back to Webster on Sept. 20 for “Symbols of Flamenco.” She performed the flamenco and spoke about its history.
Daman said the event meant a lot to her.
As an undergraduate student Daman said she often attended events in the Sunnen Lounge and as a cheerleader, practiced there. At the time, Daman wondered if she would perform in Sunnen after graduation. “Symbols of Flamenco” was a bit of a dream come true for Daman.

“Of all the rooms this is the most meaningful,” Daman said. “This is where it all started.”

After dancing to “Iberia,” Daman gave some history of the use of a fan, either wooden or plastic. Daman said she uses wooden fans because the sound is more dramatic.

“I love that piece because I get to work with the fan,” Daman said. “One thing I love about the fans is that they are so practical. Some songs call for fans, others are dancers’ choice.”

For her next piece, Daman selected “Flamenco, Flamenco.” In this dance, she used a tropical red and black shawl, which she draped over her shoulders. The shawl moved around her body as the danced continued. During the song’s climax, Daman threw the shawl in the air and caught it.

Webster alumna Linsey Daman dances the flamenco for students in the Sunnen Lounge on Sept. 20. PHOTO BY MAX BOUVATTE

With each dance Daman included a “duende,” which is what she called the spirit of the dance. The “duende” is also a part of the dance’s middle section when Daman can use improvisation and show her own personal style. This is the section of the dance when most audience members become uninterested.

“It’s never a question of letting anyone down,” Daman said. “But rather, how can I make it better? Am I losing people and how do I bring them back?”

Daman said her own style is upbeat, but it mostly depends on the mood of herself and the audience that day. If the audience is excited and involved she may choose a calmer improvisation. If the audience is not enthusiastic, she may put more intensity in her moves.

Andrea Lopez, a senior international relations major, is a fan of flamenco and said it is a part of her Mexican heritage.

“I really love flamenco,” Lopez said. “I had some time after class and I thought, ‘Why not?’”

The Center for International Education sponsored the event.

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