By Sten Ivan
Colorful background lighting, rhythmic melodies and the sound of stomping feet captured the audiences’ attention in the Ojibwe Ballroom of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where the Juan Siddi Flamenco Theatre Company performed as a part of their national tour.
The dance company recently returned from a national tour of 18 cities throughout the United States, including New York City, Washington, D.C., and Chicago.
Founder and Artistic Director of Choreography Juan Siddi started his professional career at the age of 18. Siddi toured for many years with reputable companies within Europe before being invited to the United States to work with Maria Benitez’s Teatro Flamenco.
Coordinator of Student Activities and event organizer Nicole Rindone said she wanted to bring an international presence to UW-Eau Claire.
“Flamenco was a good mix for its cultural aspects,” Rindone said. “It was a huge success.”
Rindone said she thought it was a good decision to add the event for The Artists Series 2012-2013 because the university had not hosted flamenco dance in a while.
The event captured the audience’s attention by introducing the well-known Spanish tradition. Carlie Hagerman, a senior at UW-Eau Claire, said she was especially intrigued by the unique combination of the show.
“The way the dancers and the musicians communicate on stage is really mesmerizing to me,” she said.
Hagerman said she hopes to see UW-Eau Claire bring more cultural events like Wednesday’s performance to campus in the future.
Siddi offered to teach master flamenco dancing classes to university students the day following his company’s performance at the Davies Student Center.
“I want to share our culture and tradition while adding some fresh interpretations,” Siddi said. “There is always room for improvement.”
The company’s artists are committed to preserving and innovating flamenco’s distinctive cultural art throughout the world.