Flamenco flashmob to feed Festival spirit

By Anna Schwoub
July 30, 2013

More than 50 dancers aged 18-75 years will surprise passers-by with a flamenco flashmob on 1 August as part of opening events for the 2013 Just Festival.

Taking place at 6pm on Thursday, at a mystery location in the city centre, the flashmob will feature solo performances by professional dancers as well as a powerful choreographed routine performed by the whole group.

The Just Festival - sponsored by a wide range of civic, educational faith and church groups - begins on 2 August and will feature 129 events and 450 performances across 28 venues in Scotland's capital.

The flashmob flamenco dancers come from all over Edinburgh, following a call out from event partners Hispanic Arts Scotland and Just Festival to residents of Wester Hailes and Craigmillar.

The estates, where life has been tough in recent years, are taking part in a series of free classes ahead of the event, as well as classes hosted by the national dance agency Dance Base. For many participants this is their first opportunity to learn to dance and perform in public.

Flamenco is a beautiful, fun and fiery Spanish folk dance from the Romani, or Gypsy, community, but with roots in Indian culture and a spiritual side that makes it a fitting introduction to the programme for August's Just Festival.

On the artistic side, Just Festival events highlighting Indian culture include classical dance for the 21st century by Ragamala Dance, an exhibition of Warli folk art, a workshop in creating intricate Kolam 'patterned prayer' designs using rice flour, Punjabi cookery classes and a talk on Ancient Indian Civilisation.

Other dance events include Sounds and Rhythms of Soweto, a workshop in African movement and song by festival performers Soweto Melodic Voices.

Contemporary African a capella fivesome Africa Entsha are also set to get everyone dancing in the aisles of St John's Church (corner of Princes Street and Lothian Road) on 3 August, as Just Festival holds its official opening event, which members of the public are also welcome to attend.

The Just Festival also features a range of conversations and talks on major social issues: alternative economics, peacemaking, social change, the Middle East, inter-religious engagement, religion in society, Christianity today, Scotland's future, and much more.

The flashmob location for Thursday 1 August will be revealed on facebook.com/justfestival.page and @justFestival on Twitter an hour before the event takes place.

* For more information on Just Festival, visit http://www.justjust.org and http://justfestivalnews.blogspot.com

* For more information on Hispanic Arts Scotland, go to: www.hispanicfestival.co.uk.

* Ekklesia is a sponsor of Just Festival. Our news, reporting and comment is aggregated at: www.ekklesia.co.uk/justfestival

* Media info on flamenco flashmob, Just Festival performances, workshops, exhibitions, family and Persian Tent: Leila Frank, e: leilaATglorydayspr.co.uk, t: 07552 717 827.

* Media info on Just Festival talks, films and conversations: Simon Barrow, e: simon.barrowATekklesia.co.uk
t: 07850 120 413.

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© Anna Schwoub is a writer and academic from Northumbria specialising in the link between culture, religion and social change.

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.