Dancers from the Angeles Gitanos Flamenco Dance Company stomped, twirled and posed under dramatically cloudy skies in front of the 30-foot-high metal fountain sculpture Sailfish in Three Stages of Ascending at the Broward Convention Center on a recent Saturday afternoon.
The sky was growing dark and rain threatened while the installation’s water jet and lighting sprayed upward.
“Flamenco is very passionate,” explained dancer Maggie Rubi, 70, who came to the art form late in life but feels drawn to it because it is close to dance in her native Cuba. “Flamenco comes from Spain. The rhythms are very close to those from Latin America. Latin people like Flamenco because it makes us feel connected to our motherland.”
The photo shoot was staged in honor of Broward Cultural Division’s Public Art & Design Program‘s 40th Anniversary. To mark this milestone, the division is featuring 12 works of public art photographed with Broward County dancers showcased in monthly features, for a series called Counterpoints. Visit broward.org/arts to view the other images in the series.
Public art is meant to create a sense of place and to improve the visual environment for the citizens of Broward County. Today more than 249 artworks are installed at 88 locations.
The youngest in the group was 10-year-old Sara Perez. All dancers wore stunning combinations of red, black and white dresses designed to flare and twirl with the women’s movements.
Alvarez and the other dancers walked rhythmically down the length of a three foot wall in front of the vertical metal sculpture. Created by artist Kent Ullberg and installed in 1990, the black granite water fountain incorporates bronze sculptural elements representing the marine life of the nearby Atlantic Ocean. The leaping sculptures of sailfish chase baits such as ballyhoos and mullets.
“I love to dance Flamenco because it makes me have some creativity,” said Isabel Alvarez, 14. “I have a lot of fun doing it. It’s so vibrant.”
Dance company director Monika Lange explained their circular arm motions with soft movements of the wrists and hands make the appendages look like elegant birds. Dancers, Anaelena Nelsas and Joanna Schotz, posed for photographer Eileen Escarda, twisting and turning in the dance’s stylized signature moves. Dancers made stunning tableaus complete with flowers and peineta combs in their hair, flapping triangular fans and fluttering fringed scarves.
“I was trying to capture similar movement of the dancers and the sculpture and the energy,” said Escarda.” The solo dancer photographs bring that out.”
The dancers ended the session dancing the Sevillana partner dance with wide smiles.