Once, during my early balletic days, a director appointed me to a challenging role, instructing me to dance, said, “With attitude, Darling.” What he meant – what I learned – was to dance with complete heart, sense, and purpose; to abandon myself in that role. Since flamenco is such an individualistic art form, yet this particular discipline is still fairly new to me, I often hear those words of early advice trickle up from the deep recesses of my memory. I’m finding my voice, so to speak, my stylistic language within the flamenco context: to mean what I say. What I’ve added to my Bucket List, however, and what I yearn to do, is express flamenco in a worshipful/liturgical/Christian piece and venue. I believe in possibilities and have a vision for that day. In the meantime, here are a few pictures of my continuing, enriching education toward a flamenco dream.
The first three photos are by Victor Garza of garzapix.com. The remaining are by Mike & Sharon Mansoor (Sharon is the lovely lady from England who I had the pleasure to dance with at the WOW festival represented here).
Several of these pictures are capturing moments from my new flamenco solo, an eight-minute Alegría, that has been added to the repertoire under the direction of Lucia Andronescu (shown in photo #2). I am soon to turn 45 years old, and it is fun, fun, fun to still be dancing!
Periodically, I will post snippets here on my flamenco journey, since flamenco has become a regular part of my life and love, making it fuller. I had written once how the dance never leaves the dancer. This certainly is true, but in my case it has transitioned in a matter of months into something brand new, a different dance genre and language. I’m learning a lot in a short amount of time. My dance director calls it the “fast track to flamenco.” The curve is uniquely challenging, but it’s just right for me these days and I’m enjoying it immensely.
A few days ago, this local newspaper article came out on the dance company with which I am currently studying and performing. Thought I’d share the latest.
“Break the ballerina,” I have deliberated. I want to be reconstructed, transformed into another kind of dancer – that of flamenco. I want to learn, I want to be of that world.
Flamenco is something that has always drawn my attention, yet I've never had ample time or opportunity to pursue studying it—and unless you’re born into it flamenco is a type of study. It’s like learning a new language, a new culture. Serious students only, for flamenco is far too complex and challenging for the easy going. In many ways, I find flamenco more difficult than ballet or any other form of dance I've carried out. It requires absolute immersion physically, mentally, and spiritually. I don’t know whether it’s where I am in life today or if the timing is suddenly just ripe, but I am shifting things around to make room to absorb and to learn, to train. I can tell in my heart of hearts that there is no turning back for me. I've caught the “flamenco bug” and I’m in the midst of a new and lasting love affair.
Currently, I am dancing with Pasión Flamenca under the direction of Lucia Andronescu. A good fit for me in both style and method, I am receiving superb technique training along with continual performance experience. I began this particular journey about two months ago.
One day, I will look back at the progression, my metamorphosis from one kind of dancer into another. Flamenco is truth by fire, a matchless, mystical pilgrimage that, in a strange way, provides a sense of balance for this spiritually attuned dancer/novelist.