Arts Education Artist Page

Diana Dinicola

Dance

Diana Dinicola was a lifelong dancer even before beginning her study of flamenco.  Now she holds a diploma for the advanced level intensive training program at the Fundacion Cristina Heeren de Arte Flamenco in Sevilla, Spain, has attended the National Flamenco Institute at the University of New Mexico multiple years (2002, 2003, 2004, 2006), and travels to Spain regularly for continuing development.

Performing professionally, Diana has appeared with noted Flamenco artists such as Antonio Vargas, Angel Munoz,  Jesus Montoya, Marija Temo, Chayito Champion, Ricardo Marlow and Arturo Martinez.

In 2003, Diana co-founded Flamenco Louisville, the first all-inclusive flamenco organization in the area to provide classes for performers and aficionados alike, as well as creating social and performance opportunities for the entire Flamenco community.

An active educator, Diana has been teaching flamenco dance in Louisville, Kentucky, and surrounding cities, and for the Governor’s School for the Arts.  In addition, she is a Showcase Kentucky and Kentucky Arts Council Education Roster artist, taking flamenco into the schools and community centers as a medium for teaching core Arts & Humanities curriculum.

Diana was trained in theater at Northwestern University, where she received a BS in Communications and her teaching certification.  She is a member of the inaugural class of the Kentucky Center for the Arts’ Artist Educator Seminars, the prototype for a national model preparing artists as in-school educators.  Also, Diana is a veteran arts administrator and holds an MBA from Emory University.  She received recognition as a “Hero of Diversity” from WHAS-TV and the Kentucky Lottery in 2008.

Potential Residency Project

The goal of the program is to provide direct experience with core arts and humanities curriculum concepts through a healthy, creative and culturally unique medium for self-expression.

Though my primary focus is dance, elements of music, theater and social studies are utilized while we explore the unique system of dance and music that is Flamenco.  The role of the dancer in Flamenco is not only to use space, time, and force to interpret an emotional landscape for ceremonial purposes or self-expression; the Flamenco dancer must also take on the responsibilities of a musician, using rhythmic and tonal elements created by striking the floor or clapping, to accompany themselves and others.

The history of Flamenco provides an opportunity to look at the relationship between Spain and Latin America and the exchange of cultural influences in dance and music.  In addition, the special role Flamenco plays in Spanish culture and history can be used to examine similarities in Kentucky culture/history.

Residency workshops are tailored to grade level and any special goals of the teacher (i.e. Spanish culture teachers).  A culminating performance for the community and/or other students within the school system provides demonstration of achievement and allows students to participate in a collaborative, creative undertaking.   For middle and high school students, the improvisational nature of Flamenco offers additional opportunities to directly experience core curriculum concepts.  In addition, Flamenco can be a tool for examination of identity, appropriate expression of emotion and other issues of selfhood that become developmentally relevant in this age group.

This program can be adapted to include individuals with mobility challenges.

Workshops with Diana include demonstration of the artform of flamenco but students are quickly brought to their feet to begin building a movement vocabulary and understanding of how to sequence a unit of flamenco dance in harmony with the music.  Through this process, students work with core curriculum principles and vocabulary in music and dance.  Diana’s approach is influenced by her commitment to the culturally authentic collaborative and improvisational nature of flamenco.  Culminating activities such as performances are shaped by the creative input of the students themselves.  Students work together to determine pathways, sequences, tempos, etc. for group and solo performance.  Independent or group research by students can be included to create narration, make costuming choices and suggest refreshments that are culturally relevant and create a deeper understanding of context for the artform. 

Flamenco Movement Vocabulary
Upper body movements (“brazeo”)
– non-locomotor Movement through space (“marcaje”) – locomotor Footwork (“zapateado”) – locomotor and non-locomotor

Flamenco Structure: Key vocabulary for choreography and/or improvisation Llamada (“call”) – used to signal beginning of dance and/or change from section to section Letra (verse) – a critical section for dancer’s interpretation, essentially the middle Cierre (“close”) – used to signal the end of a dance and/or section Salida (“leaving”) – the dancer’s exit

WHAT THEY'VE SAID
“I was amazed at how attentive the kids appeared to be. In fact, one of the kids, who normally has 'attention issues' really seemed to be getting into it.”

“My students reveled in the opportunity to participate kinesthetically in this program.  The exposure to authentic flamenco was a wonderful way to enhance the cultural component of foreign language learning.”

“As an instructor, Diana has demonstrated a remarkable gift for producing projects that are creative and accessible for age 4 to adults. She is extremely dependable, well prepared and able to handle emergent situations easily.”