|“Flamenco at El Farol” by Roland Van Loon|
I go through different phases on how I like to perform. Sometimes, I feel boisterous and want to just strut some stuff. Other times I feel I need to connect with not only the musicians, but with the audience as well. Many times I’ve wanted to be in my own head space; not pay attention to the audience, just listen to the cante and toque and just dance. Release!
Which was the best? The introverted, in my head/body dance or the extroverted, connecting with the audience dance?
Does an introverted dance only apply to the heavy hitters like Siguirilla, Tarantos and Solea, while the extroverted go only with the “chicos” like Alegrias, Guajiras and Tangos?
Some people would say that the introverted is “más flamenco” because it expresses the passion and anguish of the art form. Others would say the extroverted is more appropriate because the dancer connecting with the audience is more satisfying to watch because it brings people into the experience.
I think it’s all true, so long as the dancer herself is being truly AUTHENTIC in her dance intentions and showing her TRUE self. It also depends on the environment and mood of the dancer. Tablao vs. theater. Good day vs. bad day. They all affect the dancer’s expression.
The last time I danced Tarantos, a “cante jondo,” I really felt I wanted to connect with the audience. That came from the feeling I had of bringing out my belly dancer past (yes, I used to be a belly dancer in my previous life) and getting to dance 4/4. That rhythm brings out the peacock in me. The peacock comes out also when all my ducks are in order in my life or I’m just in a good partying kind of mood.
Ironically, with the dancing I’ve been doing lately I’ve been wanting to do a little bit of both- staying in my own head space connecting with the music, but also having moments of inviting the audience to come along with me during my dance.
I think when I’m more contemplative in my dance it comes from being overwhelmed in my life in general. Then the dance becomes meditative and healing for myself. It goes back to flamenco curing all, empowering women, releasing all the pent up stresses we may be carrying. Right?
So, what do you think? When are you an innie or an outie- since we all have a little bit of both inside? What kind of dancers do you prefer?
I leave you here with some of my favorites of both. Who would you add and where?