One of my favorite dance video clips is from a wonderful scene from the classic movie “Los Tarantos” with the flamenco Goddess Carmen Amaya. In it she plays the matriarch in a Romeo and Juliet style story line. The scene that I’m crazy about is when she meets her son’s love interest and approves of her after her dancing. Drinks are poured and then Carmen herself dances a fiery Bulerias. She was in her mid 40’s when this movie was released in 1963.
It got me thinking (again) about getting older and dancing flamenco, about how we come more into our own as we get older.
I was born in 1969 (dude!) and as I go through all the hormonal changes that women my age go through, I feel it’s a wonderful time of “becoming.” I’m becoming more of who I was meant to be. I’m becoming more dedicated to my own needs and passions. I’m becoming better at setting firm boundaries, trusting my intuition, and finding the courage to speak my truth. I’ve heard my older friends express the same thing.
Technically I’m middle-aged, but I feel like my youthful Gen X self. I feel stronger than ever, more focused on what’s important, and even better, there are so many contemporary flamenco dancers my age that are amazing. Not to mention the real role models of flamenco dancers that I would love to grow up to be like.
Of course, the youngin’s can have lightning fast footwork and vast amounts of energy, but what makes flamenco so special is the personal story of each dancer. The cockiness of youth gives way to a humble confidence that comes with age. We allow ourselves to express more of who we truly are and not of what we think we should be. It’s the life experience that truly comes out.
Hopefully, as we all age we remember that as we get older we don’t have time to focus on our own insecurities in life, as flamenco dancers, at work, nowhere! It’s our time to step into our greatness, stand up and be seen. And that absolutely includes following our flamenco bliss wherever that may lead.
So, as long as the dancer takes care of the body and mind, the personal expression can only get better with time.
However, it IS important to take care of the body because flamenco is BRUTAL to it! It feeds our soul exponentially, but we will all cut our flamenco journey short if we don’t actively do the stretches and strengthening exercises to keep our bodies ready for dance. And don’t forget to fuel your body so that it thrives!
There are plenty of wonderful dancers in California that are over 40 and 50. But I don’t mention them since I don’t know if they’d appreciate being called out on their age. But here are some of my favorite Spanish dancers in their 40’s and beyond that have their birthdate splashed all over the internet.
It’s such a blessing to watch these flamenco dancers express themselves in such an honest way. I am reminded that life is such a blessing and that we all possess something special to express and to share. That it takes courage and a willingness to be vulnerable. So, as the years pass, I hope that I can step up even more with an open heart to DANCE MY TRUTH. And I hope the same for you.
Angelita Gomez, 1944
Isabel Bayón, 1969
Rafael Campallo, 1974
Yes! I am 47 now. I danced when I was young, and went back to flamenco class after a long break, aged 42. While some things (like fast footwork) seem more difficult, there are other things I do better now.
Also, thanks for posting the videos. Antonio el Pipa is my teacher. I love La Farruca, but also her sister, La Faraona. There are some videos of La Faraona dancing with her nephew Farru on youtube.com. I like the way these two always seem to be flirting on stage.
trippmadam. Taking a break and coming back to flamenco is always so refreshing. I hope your classes are going well. Thanks for reading. Rina
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I am 52 years old and just started classes. OLE’!!!!!!!! 🙂
Dance your heart out Wendy! Thanks for reading. Rina
Thank you so much! I’m in my mid-40s. I danced when young (ballet, tap, jazz, etc), and then belly dance for much of my late teens and early 20s, dancing professionally for awhile. Then, nothing as I raised children, built a business. However … I’ve been unable to resist the call of Flamenco. Always, the music, dance, and poetry has reached deep into my heart; never was it the right time, though. Now….the right time has arrived. I lose myself in Flamenco daily – watching videos, dancing, learning Spanish, studying history, reading the poetry, exploring musicians – all of it. I’m still a ‘newbie’ but I was, quite honestly, feeling a bit hesitant given my age…but I cannot resist the call. I’m a woman obsessed!
I got everybody beat!, Here in Los Angeles, anyway!!! LOL!
I’m 76 and still at it! I’ve hit a speed bump in October, because they found cancer but I’m cancer free now and starting up again. I feel strong and confident, hoping to start performing again in July at my old Homestead, EL CID!
Don’t ever give up your dancing because of your age. Dancing will keep you alive! OLE!!!!!
OLE Juan! Maestro! I’m looking forward to your comeback!!!
Hola – Hey I’m 67 and just starting out with flamenco dancing; in my city there is very limited exposure to flamenco we have one teacher and 2 students me & my daughter. But I have a great grandfather from spain, barcelona. For some reason I always loved flamenco style guitar & the dancing it just fascinated me and grew to love it with a passion. My passion then transferred to starting to learn it at age 67. Of course with the help of my teacher and the help of Rina and her online classes and I truly appreciate her beginning level classes offered. Now the secret is to stay healthy “of course with help of Flamenco dancing” and living a mindful life – I hope to be dancing into my 90’s. It’s all about attitude & of course Flamenco dancers have attitude!
OLE Tino and thank you for the kind words!
I just found this blog as I just joined Rina’s wonderful online studio. I am 87 years old. I studied Flamenco in Madrid when I was very young. But then I married, left Madrid and never had another opportunity to study it as we were constantly traveling. I never lost my love for Flamenco. i have a wonderful teacher here where I Live, but there is only one class and it is only once a week and it is a beginner class. So I am very delighted to be part of This on line class.
OLE Yvonne! If flamenco is your calling, then you MUST dance no matter where you are in your life. Ole y ole tu!
LOVE it. Thanks Rina!!!
Oh thank you so much for the lovely compilation… it’s a feast to watch. Ole!
Love your post Rina, and it rings true. Thank you. And I love the videos as well.
I hope to continue dancing for a while yet
Thank you Rina. It will take me a whiile to go through all these videos. I am 67 and a beginner. Arms and hands are particularly challenging because I have never been a dancer ( I am a guitarist, actually). The emphasis on arms for many of the women here is useful for me. So many ways to move and say something. This is the core of what I want to explore. I love practicing footwork, and, with practice, it does get better, but being really able to speak with fluency through the hands, arms, rhythm and gesture- this is the essence that you can only find within yourself.