A flamenco troupe shimmies to tell the story of a sensual Cuban woman. Chinese dancers wield fans and feathers in a traditional routine that originated 2,000 years ago. The colors and sounds of more than 15 different cultures with communities in San Diego show up vibrantly in the Nations of Dance festival, an annual smorgasbord of international music and dance happening this weekend in Coronado.

Watch our video with NBC 7 San Diego to see these cultural juxtapositions:

View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com.

In the clip above, we interviewed Patricia Astorga-Casey, director of two troupes in the festival: La Esencia Flamenca and Sabor Mexico. We also talked to Patricia Lippert, director of Blue Ming Chinese Dance Company, who reminded us that dancing isn’t a day job for most of these dancers — they do it to pass along the dance traditions of their culture.

Lippert said the company has a dentist, a journalist and an IT tech in it, but they all shared a childhood dream to do this:

We all loved dance. Loved it when we were young, but we never were given the opportunity. Our parents always emphasized education. So they pushed us, “study, study, study,” and get a college PhD and everything. And only after so many years, now we feel like we can arrange our own affairs. And we still have our own dreams! …

My mom passed away but my dad’s still in China. I’m sure he’d be very proud to see now I’m onstage, dancing!

Betzi Roe, the festival’s artistic director, had a hand in starting the festival 18 years ago. Now, she said, the real fun happens backstage.

And the flamencos were saying the very same thing and so were the folkloric dancers, that this — when they’re backstage and they’re dressing in all these spaces and they’re bumping into each other in the hall, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. The conversations start and you can hear the music playing and somebody’s got the tabla and the flamenco guitar now! And the African drum! And you know? It’s pretty exciting.

The festival happens tonight, Saturday and Sunday at the Coronado Performing Arts Center. More info here.

I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at kelly.bennett@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0531.

And follow Behind the Scene on Facebook.

Kelly Bennett

Kelly Bennett is a former staff writer for Voice of San Diego.

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