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Blackbird Dance Company Development Lab

Original photo by Terrence Hamilton

Yesterday I launched the news about the Blackbird Dance Company Development Lab. This post is meant to be a partial explanation of the why behind the Lab. While I do have tremendous goals, including creating more and greater opportunities for performance and sharing my love for Flamenco and Spanish dances, ultimately this Lab is about investing in people and increasing access to this art, both for artists, who are often constrained by a number of limitations, and for potential audience members. The Lab is a long-term project. It is meant to be a stabilizing force and one that puts in place a solid foundation by providing long-term artistic and technical training and development. In its current form, the Lab calls for 10 months of such training, but there is also the desire to build and rehearse repertory and take advantage of good performance possibilities. My hope and goal is that the Development Lab will grow in scope in coming years, extending to an increasing number of dancers. My hope also is to build bridges among people, but also to build a bridge to Spain so that what is so amazing about Flamenco and Spanish Dance can reach us -- and I do mean "us" as in "everyone". I don't think I'm the only Flamenco practitioner who has felt that they needed to make drastic changes to be involved in Flamenco, including moving, giving up work or jobs, etc., in order to be closer to the heart of things. Though I'm in no way denying the richness of those choices and experiences, I have also seen the other side of the coin, where it's not feasible, possible or even necessarily desirable to pursue training in that way. That doesn't mean the love of Flamenco is any less or that there is less dedication, just different circumstances and choices. But I have always felt that in the face of obstacles, there has to be another way (or several other ways!), and I'm happy that we have tools to connect people who love this art form to the growth they desire. That said, I look forward to many fruitful beginnings!

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