Montrealers invited to rock their thing at the L’Art en soi Festival

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The festival features a different roster of dance teachers, bands and DJs every night, Thursday through Saturday, on the Place des Arts Esplanade.

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Jonathan Heredia de la Cruz wants you to dance. He wants you to do salsa, he wants you merengue, cumbia and bachata. And you will have an hour to learn everything.

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Well, maybe not everything.

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“It’s going to be an initiation,” he said. “Basically, we’re going to introduce people to the basic steps of four different types of Latin rhythms.”

Heredia de la Cruz will host a free Latin dance class on Thursday, September 22 at 7 p.m., as part of the 4e Festival L’Art en soi, which takes place this weekend and next weekend on the Esplanade of Place des Arts. After class, people can try out their new moves to live sounds from the Chico Band, followed by tunes from DJ Yro, which spins from 9-10 p.m.

“The idea is to get people ready, to get them started for the second half of the night,” Heredia de la Cruz said, “so by the time the band plays, people are comfortable and warmed up, and they have a few moves they can try out on the dance floor.

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For Heredia de la Cruz, teaching Latin dance means sharing her joie de vivre. Latin dance, he says, offers a snapshot of Latin culture.

“We represent happiness, conviviality, welcoming others and sharing. And that’s what we are looking for in dance: to be surrounded by people, to feel good in the moment and in your own skin. Latin dance puts you in the mood for it; it automatically puts people in a party mood.

The Art Itself features a different roster of dance teachers, bands and DJs every night, Thursday through Saturday, giving attendees the chance to experience an eclectic array of styles including Samba, Guinean Dance, Bollywood , country, disco and the resurgence craze of waacking, a retro style of disco dancing started in LA’s LGBTQ clubs in the 70s.

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“The vision I had (for Art Itself) was inspired by the Lincoln Center’s Swing In the Streets series,” said Place des Arts programming director Clothilde Cardinal. “They really encourage the general public to dance on their esplanade. I saw it a few years ago and I thought, “Why not do it in Montreal? ”

No need to be an expert, she insists. The idea is to get people out, get them moving and try something new. To expand its audience, the festival also offers Bhangra classes, Midis dansés, from Tuesday to Friday from 12 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.

“We would like to be as inclusive as possible,” Cardinal said of the festival. “It’s not just samba for South American people. It really is samba for everyone. Montrealers want to know more about samba and Guinean dance. The objective is to mix all these people, lovers of dance and music.

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“The name Art in itself means that everyone has an artist in themselves. With this festival, we want people to discover or rediscover the artist himself. And dance is such a wonderful art form.

Heredia de la Cruz knows he won’t turn anyone into a Latin dance expert on Thursday. But as director of the dance studios of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, where he gives Zumba dance fitness classes for ages 16 and up on Saturday mornings, he knows that it is possible to have fun while being active. and learning something new.

“My goal is really to give people the confidence that they can move,” he said, “so if they go to a party where Latin music is playing, they know what to do. party is about helping people have fun with it, in a simple, non-stressful way. It’s not about performance. It’s not about perfection. It’s about learning enough to be able to have fun among the people around you and enjoy the night.

IN BRIEF: The Art Itself Festival continues Friday and Saturday then resumes Sept. 22-24, 6-10 p.m.

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