Performing arts students at Nueva Esperanza Academy in North Philadelphia were treated to lessons from some of the worlds greatest flamenco dancers thanks to Opera Philadelphia and the Antonio Gades Company.

About 40 students crowded a small auditorium for the lesson, conducted partly in Spanish and partly in English, but all of it in what choreographer Antonio Hidalgo called "the language of flamenco." That language consists of the stylized gestures, rhythms, and postures of this difficult dance form. There was no music save the stomping, snapping, and clapping of the dancers.

"This is the beauty of flamenco," Hidalgo told the rapt students. "You don't have to have music. Your body is the music."

The Antonio Gades Company is featured in Opera Philadelphia's performance of "Ainadamar," an opera about the life of poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca, who was executed during the Spanish Civil War. Hidalgo, assistant choreographer for the company, and four dancers took a break from rehearsals to bring their skills and expertise to the school.,