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Children learn flamenco dancing
Flamenco Dancing pic
Flamenco dancer Julie Baggenstross teaches children that rhythm is important for flamenco dance. - photo by Amanda Head Dawson Community News

Carmen Dauset Moreno, also known as the Spanish dancer Carmencita, originally from Spain, is known for making flamenco dancing popular in the U.S.

Carmencita toured the country performing with her sister and brother-in-law in the late 1800s. Around this time Thomas Edison had heard about the dancer and wanted to capture her in motion.

Because of Edison, Carmencita also became known as the first woman to appear in film.

Julie Baggenstross danced in the flamenco style and talked about the history of film and the tale of Carmencita and Edison as children sat engrossed last week at the Dawson County Library.

"Drawing the connection between history or literature and the dance," is one of the reasons Baggenstoss enjoys flamenco dancing, she said.

Dancing all her life and flamenco dancing for 15 years, she teaches the Spanish dance, and also likes to do school shows like she did at the library - a little bit of dancing to add with the learning.

Baggenstoss said she uses flamenco dancing "as a vehicle to teach other things - communication, team work, science, history, geography and Spanish grammar."

Even though Baggenstoss performed by herself at the library, she said flamenco dancing is built on team work and energy the team brings to the stage.

"You really need four (performers) to get the music going. The singing and guitar playing and the people yelling - there is a lot more yelling and ruckus when there are four. They call it ‘quatro flamenco.'

"Flamenco dancing needs this energy that happens between people and to really get that energy going you need (at least four)," she said.

Also with flamenco dancing, the dancer and the singer communicate nonverbally through dance moves, which can be helpful in instances where people have never met before and are having to perform together.

Baggenstoss recalls a time where her singer and guitar players only met moments before the show. She forgot to give them instructions on how the program would go and had to show them through her dance moves what was to be expected.