On this Valentine’s Day, I write my own love letter to my sweet love, FLAMENCO. For all the highs and lows of our relationship, I think we’re on pretty good terms right now.
“But, Rina, why wouldn’t you be on good terms with flamenco??”
You know, all the usual head trips that we flamencas face. Feelings of inadequacy from comparing ourselves to others. Frustration from (perceived) lack of progress. Guilt from not feeling the “passion” in order to stay motivated to practice. All the basic self-inflicted drama!! 😆
But after almost two years of pandemic life and really feeling the fatigue from it, I have fallen even more in love with this most breath taking art form.
I realize so powerfully now how flamenco does not work in a bubble. You as a dancer are not alone. You are a part of a community. Whether it’s in class, online, in the tablao…. it’s YOUR community. And we are ALL struggling with our own little flamenco dramas.
We need each other not only because we need people to play or dance with, but because we DO share the same hopes and desires that flamenco instills in us. And that is incredibly comforting–our tribe is truly our stability.
Then there’s the power of flamenco itself. As a very petite woman, I’ve been dismissed or ignored throughout my life. However, I see how flamenco has truly given me a vehicle to express myself, to feel strong, powerful, heard, seen.
I see that it also provides the same power to so many others- whether they’ve felt boxed in to society’s expectations of themselves, they’ve been disenfranchised, or just lived through the traumas that life can have. Flamenco is empowering. Period. Full stop. You learn how to stand courageously, vulnerable but powerful.
Although I’ve been teaching flamenco for over 15 years, it’s from teaching online that I’ve learned my most valuable lesson. 💋BESO! Or actually- K.I.S.S. Keep it super simple! Flamenco is one complicated art form- from the compás to the structure of the dance and all the different palos…. and never mind the actual dance technique!! Dancers (myself included) can get all hung up in trying to do the crazy moves with the crazy compás. But unless you’re really practicing a lot and making it come out super strong and confident, it just looks like a jumbled, bland mess!
I’ve always preached keeping it simple but I know that I haven’t always *really* followed my own advise. But NOW, I see the light!!! I’m truly trying to keep the moves simple and focus on strong compás and accents with tons of aire for myself and my students. And it just feels better that way.
We all wish that we knew everything about flamenco, like, yesterday! But that’s impossible. We will never be perfect dancers. We just have to keep learning, get out of our own way with overthinking the dance. We can commit here and now to allow ourselves to be truly passionate and authentic. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, celebrate where we are now with a commitment and openness to always learn more.
So, thank you, Flamenco, for all that you’ve given me. I ❤️ you!!!!!
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