I’ve been looking forward to taking classes at the Rhody Center for a while. I finally signed up for what will hopefully be the first of many classes. Yesterday I was excited to take my first belly dance class. Kristen was very friendly and helpful. She took the movements slowly, broke them down and explained the mechanics. In addition, Kristen sought our input and geared the class toward our needs, making it indivialized. The added benefit was the small class size of wonderful, like minded people. I love the music, the dance space (colorful), the instructor, and the variation in styles (Arabic vs. Egyptian, etc.). Thank you for an amazing first experience and thank you Julie for hooking me up with a coin hip scarf. Can’t wait to spend next week learning more with everyone!
Michelle is a singer/songwriter who blends jazz, folk, and rock in her music. Cruz's songs from her album, “The Recovery,” have received high praise from music critics, and the album received the “Album of the Year” award at the 2011 Motif Magazine Music Awards. Named “Best Jazz Female” at the 2011 New England Urban Music Awards, Cruz has appeared on NPR, FOX, and CBS. Michelle was asked to perform for her music hero, the late Jeff Buckley, at a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Fan Gathering and Tribute concert in Cleveland; she opened for Judy Collins; she paid tribute to the late folk legend Odetta; and she was invited to sing for the Grammy award-winning ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock. Michelle has made appearances at venues such as The Bitter End (NYC) and the Black Woman's Art Festival (Philadephia), and locally at the Sunset Music Festival in Newport.
The Michelle Cruz Quartet were the featured performers at “George Wein and Friends” in honor of the Newport Jazz Festival Founder, George Wein, for the past two summers. Michelle was asked to sing her Portuguese composition, “Deixa," for the President and First Lady of the Azores during their recent visit to the US, which was documented by international TV station RTP.
Michelle founded The Lost Chord—a program that provides music accessibility to all. On her first trip to Cabo Verde, Africa, Cruz developed “Sounds Across Waves,” a workshop allowing children from two nations to interact through music.