Friday, February 26, 2010

Contagious Flamenco

Before I started writing this , it was a temptation to google, study and read about this subject. I declined my inclinations because I wanted only speak from my heart, instead of my head.

Our oldest daughter took Flamenco dance classes for 2 years. The first year it was one on one. The second it was with a famous teacher here in the PNW.

I have been to a few Flamenco performances and watched many practices.

We have a young friend who plays flamenco guitar. He was an exchange student in Spain for a year. While there, he had the good fortune to be invited to experience a flamenco gathering with the locals. It was in a cave-like place with real artists, not the caricature of talent performing for tourists. As he described it, it affirmed what this dance is about.

At these gatherings, often the young girls will perform first. Flamenco is very interactive. The audience participates with appreciative gusto using their body, voice and hands. Clapping is refined innuendo. The guitarist has full stage presence with the dancer. The circle is all inclusive. Overlapping. Symbiotic. Synchronistic.

This warm, intimate circle of feedback and encouragement goes on and on. No one becomes fatigued. Often, the best is saved for last. It is usually an older, wrinkled crone. Grey hair skinned back from sharp cheeks and a round body belying the gift she is about to give.

She is the most deeply honored and revered person in the room. Completely at odds with the shallow, airbrushed way we compare beauty in our culture.

Her elegant hands mesmerize. Strength and gracefulness mesh as one, from the top of her noble head and proud breast, to the repetitive strikes of her heals reverberating the windows and floor. The very air vibrates with passion. She takes your breath away.

There is nothing more magnificent than this matron of honor. Yet, if you are able to take your eyes off her, there is nothing more magnificent than the crowd with shining eyes pushing her beyond herself to duende. If your eyes come back to the stage, you realize confusedly, that the lone guitarist is really the one to whom all honor is due. What a gorgeous thing to be confused about.

If you see flamenco with a male and female dancing together, bring a cup of ice to rub on your neck and keep a fan in your lap. It makes me want to do the thing that leads to families. It makes me want to live...... full throttle, until I birth something grand. Passionate artists create desire in us to procreate.... art. 

It is possible to be drunk without alcohol. A community of artists causes me to wake up blinking and find myself pregnant with ideas, fresh thinking, new insight and passionate inspiration. The circle never ends.

Don't be afraid of drinking the water. Do. Great gulps of it.

This is a tribute to the lovely souls who support, endorse, applaud and stand shoulder shoulder in the ongoing effort to encourage and inspire one another. You know who you are. Thank you. 


  1. One of the dates on which I invited my husband (well before we married) was a tango performance at Wolf Trap, an open to-the-air theatre at which I'd worked a number of summers. More sensual dancing could not have been wanted. Not even a performance, which I also saw, of Baryshnikov taking off all his clothes on stage. It was a lucky evening, in uncountable ways.

  2. "I wanted only speak from my heart, instead of my head."

    Kathleen, I feel your writing has taken on a greater freedom recently. Am I just imagining it? ... Neoteny... I've learned a new word. Thank you. :)

  3. Maureen, your eyes are sparkling with fond memories-I see them. I have never seen live tango. The air must crackle......
    Dang, I've only seen Baryshnikov leap higher than his head. What is your favorite genre of dance?

    Bonnie, this blog's purpose is my passion, that's for sure.

  4. YOU inspire and encourage and you never give up. Thank you for not giving up on me. I love, love, love you.


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