Latin Dancer: Interview with Flaco

By Max Gast

At Bradley Beach Elementary School you may have heard that fourth graders and kindergarteners got the chance to learn Latin dance with visiting artist Mr. Marck “Flaco” Best. 

We focused on two dances, the merengue and the bachata. We got a chance to dance with all different partners throughout the lessons.

“Some of the underlying skills students were learning were: learning how to work with a partner, respect, timing, patience, learning that mistakes are okay, and of course listening skills,” said our teacher, Ms. Goldsworthy.

It was pretty fun. For example, if someone got a question about dance correct, like Myles Stewart in 4G, Mr. Flaco would give him three high fives. It was very interesting and somehow felt rewarding. 

We were supposed to perform our work at the Night at the Museum on April 23, a very popular art-themed event at the school. But sadly this was canceled due to quarantine.

Mrs. Poppe said that the school is talking with the A.I.E to reschedule the remaining sessions with Flaco as well as the culminating event next year.

The Artists in Education Residency Grant Program is a project co-funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and Young Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania to bring teaching artists into schools. This is the sixth year the school has received the grant, the second time for the fourth grade.

I did an interview with Mr. Flaco, this is how it went:

F: Hello Max! Thank you for choosing me as the subject of your interview

M: How did you get the name “Flaco?”

F: So, Flaco is actually the Spanish word for ”skinny,” something I’ve been all my life. As a child, I was teased about it all the time, so I decided to love it instead of dislike it.

M: Why do you teach kids Latin dancing?

F: Ballroom dancing teaches kids a lot about not just manners and respect, but also teamwork and how to bounce back from mistakes. It also teaches self-confidence … all very important things to know.

M: Did anyone teach you Latin dance, or did you teach yourself?

F: I learned first from my older sisters having fun at home, but after I got serious about dancing, I began to study with different teachers in New York and Philly to become a professional. To this day, I still take classes with others when I can. There is ALWAYS more to learn.

Thanks, Mr. Flaco. We hope to see you next year!

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