Manassas Journal Messenger | Festival celebrates Hispanic cultures

Micaela Mar, 17, won the audience in about 2? beats of the flamenco she danced Sunday afternoon at the Loy E. Harris Pavilion in Manassas.

There is much to see and hear in a flamenco dancer, and the audience at the Hispanic Festival crowded the front third of the pavilion when Mar, of Fairfax, swirled her long skirts and stamped the syncopated, staccato rhythms of the Spanish folk dance.

She had clusters of small nails in the heels and toes of her shoes for better sound on the raised, plywood stage.

R.J. Uebersezig, Jr., 34, and Behzad Habibzai, 20, traded arpeggios on their guitars while Mar danced.

Her head stayed level at all times and her arms were all fluidity and grace. Her castanets were a blur above the flowers in her hair.

A half a dozen photographers gathered in a semi-circle at her feet, where they stayed, with their cameras plastered to their faces, until the end of her performance.

Chris Fiorilo got stuck at the edge of the pavilion in a booth where he was selling pastries for My Bakery, a Manassas restaurant, and was sad to lose sight of Mar in the crowd surge.

“We could just see her hands and that was pretty good,” the 23-year-old said.

Rich Elms, of Dumfries, and his children, 3 and 5 years old, had a better view.

“My kids were captivated. It was perfect, very good,” said the 35-year-old, U.S. Patents Office supervisor.

Habibzai said the trio always tries to perform in venues such as the Harris Pavilion.

“There are so many Latino festivals and when they think ‘Latino,’ they think so many different places. People forget that there are Latinos in Spain,” said Habibzai, of Sterling.

“We make sure to make our appearances so that people know about the flamenco,” he said.

“Flamenco is so beautiful. There’s so much going on. There’s the percussion. There’s the guitar. There’s the feet and the upper body, the arms of the dancer, the whole package. It’s something to watch,” Habibza said.

Visitors to the Hispanic Festival were also treated to Bolivian folkloric, tango, Merengue and Salsa dancers.

Local Hispanic restaurants brought food to sell between performances.

Staff writer Keith Walker can be reached at (703) 878-8063.

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