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Flamenco dancer part of UNM benefit show

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Bridgit Luján rarely gets time to rest.

During the day, the flamenco dancer can be found inside a rehearsal space teaching students of all ages.

Some at Central New Mexico Community College.

Others at Santa Fe High or in Rio Rancho.

Not to mention the private lessons she leads with the dance company that bears her name.

Luján wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I absolutely love teaching,” she says. “I can’t say enough about teaching, and every single day, I’m excited about it. It’s about embracing what you love. When I was in school, (teachers) told me to be an engineer. As a dance teacher, I tell my students to follow their passion.”

Luján, also a University of New Mexico alumna, will be one of six choreographers presenting a body of work during UNM’s Friends of Dance annual concert, “Let’s Do It,” on Friday, Sept. 8, and Saturday, Sept. 9.

Last year, she became part of the Anderson School of Management’s Hall of Fame and was recognized by the UNM Alumni Association with the Inspiration Alumnus Award.

The Hall of Fame award led her to reconnect with the Anderson School of Management, and she agreed to contribute a short text about flamenco to a publication being developed at the business school called “Outside the Margins: The Blue Book on Refugee Assistance.”

Luján said the piece will debut at the Friends of Dance concert.

She began creating the choreography with spoken text and video imagery based on her collaboration with the business school publication. She then decided to have the musical composition built in Spain to honor the roots of flamenco while also exploring its global relevance.

She contacted two musicians with whom she had worked previously – Carlos Merino and Fernando Soto – and they created the composition based on the choreography.

“Flamenco developed from marginalized people, people who were refugees within the borders of Spain and communicating that through a short written entry was very inspiring to me on an artistic level. It made me want to create a dance as well that also reflected on flamenco as a healing art and how relevant being an outcast is still today,” she says. “I wanted to create a choreography that encompassed the text, and the Friends of Dance Concert was a perfect opportunity to do so.”

This summer, Luján was recognized as one of the top dance educators in the nation, receiving an award from Dance Teacher Magazine. Only four dance educators from throughout the nation are chosen each year for this award and she took home the Higher Education award for 2017 for her work at CNM.

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