Home Emotional music Flamenco artists share their art with New York Mills in an emotional performance – Perham Focus

Flamenco artists share their art with New York Mills in an emotional performance – Perham Focus

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Flamenco dancer Eva Makiko stretches her arms above her head as she begins her dance.

Elisabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

NEW YORK MILLS — With foot tapping and strumming guitars, a group of Twin Cities-based flamenco artists soared over New York Mills on Wednesday, October 12, creating all the buzz. The group shared “Colores Flamencos” with New York Mills Schools and the Regional Cultural Center, a flamenco music and dance performance led by Sachiko “La Chayí”.

“I received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to be able to pitch my project,” Sachiko said of how she and her fellow performers ended up in greater Minnesota ready to perform for Lakes area residents. “We’re going to do traditional flamenco performances. So it’s a song, dance, and guitar show. Those components work together. It’s more like a language. We talk to each other, we respond to each other to create.”

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Sachiko “La Chayí” performs at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Elisabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Sachiko, originally from Osaka, Japan, has studied flamenco as a dancer and director for many years and even studied in Seville, Spain for half a decade. At his side on Wednesday evening at New York Mills was the singer Juan Pedro Jiménez. Originally from Cadiz, Spain, he is now a resident of New York.

The rest of their fellow performers – all Twin Cities residents – include guitarist Ross “El Vecino” Fellrath, dancer Eva Makiko and guitarist Jonathan “Juanito” Pascual.

All were delighted to be in greater Minnesota to share their passion and their art. While they were practicing in the cultural center in the afternoon, a ballet class was in the same building, looking curiously over the balcony and watching the flamenco artists dance, sing and play their music.

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Eva Makiko (left) and Sachiko “La Chayí” (right) dance together at the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.

Elisabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

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Eva Makiko picks up her skirt as she dances, her feet moving faster to the beat of flamenco music.

Elisabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

The excitement of the community seemed to bring joy to each of the performers. When they performed at the Children’s School in the afternoon, they were greeted with nothing but electric enthusiasm. Talking about it brought smiles to their faces.

“I was so happy that they were so excited,” Sachiko explained.

Guitarist Fellrath even described traveling and performing with this band as a “dream come true”.

Dancer Makiko feels amazing performing with this group. “Flamenco is definitely an art form that you can’t do alone,” she explained. “It’s always a collaboration, and everything happens in the moment. The magic happens when people play together.”

“I think it’s just the beauty,” Sachiko added when asked what drew her to the art of flamenco.

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Sachiko “La Chayí” spins and stretches her arms upward as guitars strum behind her.

Elisabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Sachiko has been practicing flamenco for so long that she can’t really imagine her life any different. She particularly noticed how relieved he was to perform flamenco alongside other people after the isolation at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For her, this self-expression is liberating.

When they performed flamenco at the cultural center last Wednesday night, their passion was clear in every step they danced and every note they sang. Fellrath and Pascual strummed on their guitars, Jiménez sang heartily in Spanish, and Sachiko and Makiko danced to stories told by the song.

The performers’ facial expressions matched the melody, whether triumphant or sorrowful. They clapped, sang and tapped their feet as the dancers flew across the floor, sporting their robes and fans.

When they arrived at New York Mills, Fellrath could see how much the arts are loved and supported in the area.

“From my perspective, I grew up in a city of this size, and I just think you can really say the arts are supported here,” he said. “It’s a really cool thing… It’s a little oasis here. It’s really neat.”

For more information about the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center or to learn about its upcoming events, visit kulcher.org. They can also be reached at 218-385-3339.