Sarah Jannings

LAKE MICHIGAN CATHOLIC- On Monday, April 16th the two Freshman high school Spanish classes took a field trip to Don Quijote restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana to experience fascinating entertainment called a Flamenco Dance Show, while dining on Spain style cuisine.  Their entertainment consisted of Flamenco, a form of song, dance, and instrumental (mostly guitar) music, which commonly associated with the Andalusian Roma (Gypsies) of southern Spain.

Flamenco dancing can have many different purposes and whether the dance is intended to be entertaining, romantic, or comforting, flamenco is a very emotional style of dance.  

¨I enjoyed the dancing the most on the trip because I had never seen anything like it before in person and it was cool to experience a new culture,¨ said freshman Jenna Cutter.  

Flamenco dancers try to express their deepest emotions by using body movements and facial expressions. As the dancers perform, they may also clap their hands or kick their feet. Many dancers also snap small percussion handheld instruments called “castanets.”

Their centuries-long cultural intermingling produced the unique art form known as Flamenco which the freshmen got to watch for themselves on the stage in the restaurant.  

Ms. Cunat, the freshmen class Spanish teacher at LMC, said, ¨As learners of another language and culture it is important to experience authentic aspects of it, whenever possible.  For that aspect I am always trying to bring real world experiences to the students.¨

The owner of Don Quijote is from Spain and he serves food from his native country.  The students got to experience what paella, meatballs, tortilla espanola, bread, and oli oli past and frituras really taste like.  

¨My favorite food at the restaurant was the rice and chicken with vegetables (which was the paella) because it tasted like normal American food, but at the same time it didn’t,¨ said freshman Andrew Glotzbach.

At the end of the Flamenco Dance Show, three girls and three boys were asked to volunteer to go up and learn some of the dance steps of the Flamenco on the stage with the male dancer.  Michael Golden, a freshman at LMC, was the only boy to volunteer along with three other girls from different schools that were also there to experience the show.

¨I was pretty nervous when I stood up and walked up there, but I wasn’t too nervous on the stage,¨ said freshman Michael Golden.

Golden learned that dancing the Flamenco is a lot harder than it looks, but also that it is exciting to learn dance moves from another culture.  The rest of the freshmen cheered their fellow classmate on as he danced on the stage.

¨I may have looked pretty awkward while dancing, but I was actually having a blast up there on stage,” said Golden.

Overall, the freshmen seemed to enjoy the long bus ride to and from Valparaiso along with the food and entertainment at Don Quijote.  At the end of their trip, they stopped at Dairy Queen before heading back to school.

The cultural based field trip was a great way for the students to get out of the classroom and get a glimpse of the diversity of the Hispanic culture.