Flamenco and What Fresh Hell is This?

flamenco-dancer-flickr-k-girl2

Not me….but a real dancer.

NEW VIDEO I FOUND THIS AM….BEAUTIFUL AND NOT SO HARD THAT IT CAN’T BE LEARNED IN A WEEK.  THIS IS MORE ‘COUNTRY’ FLAMENCO THAN THE CABERET SORT THAT TOURISTS SEE.  CHECK IT OUT AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!  Real individual expression, which is what flamenco, when it’s running on all pistons, should be.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZUmYaD78V8&list=RDMrcSWt9CYXo

LOVE THAT MUSIC AND THE DANCER

red flamenco

YIKES!~ DIDN’T EXPECT THEM TO PASTE SO BIG…BUT THESE ARE THE SHOES I BOUGHT TODAY.  HAD CHOICE BETWEEN BLACK AND RED, AND THOUGH THE SAME SIZE (HUGE…) THE RED ONES JUST FIT BETTER.    SINCE I WAS SPENDING HUSBAND’S MONEY, I ALSO DECIDED TO BUY A FLAMENCO SKIRT AND LEOTARD.  PRICEY MORNING BUT THE PEOPLE THERE WERE WONDERFUL. I GOT A 15% DISCOUNT JUST FOR BEING ‘BRAVE’.  LOL~! (only my girlfriends would be interested in these wicked shoes, but I post them here because they are curious.  Boy! are they LOUD!)

PS: (Public Service Announcement! LOL!  If you have shoes that are too tight or small, just take a hair dryer and heat where it’s tight for about 4 minutes or so on high. Then (or before you heat your shoes one at a time, put on the thickest socks you have (or your husband’s) (there will be a lot of shoving….) and walk around until they cool …about 5 minutes.  Works great! Almost too good as they now feel a bit loose and I will have to wear thin socks. Maybe.

Lady Nyo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bd5dZosEIo

This is a man dancing the Sevillanos.  It is one of the most beautiful and captivating perfomances I have seen of this dance.  I am so taken with it, though it’s a man dancing, I am trying to learn from his movements here for my own.   I am watching other youtubes for instruction, but the simplicity and clarity of his dancing is truly breathtaking.  You see the passion and nobility of his dance, but you don’t see the effort.  That is true dancing. 

Five years ago in Montreal when I was attending a 4 hour master class in belly dance, the instructor made a good and provocative use of the remaining hour to introduce a crowded and exhausted class to flamenco.  That last hour stuck with me, simmering somewhere in the brain pan for these last years. 

What is it about flamenco?  I don’t have any knowledgeable or formal answers….and probably never will, BUT.  There is something so different in flamenco  than any other dance medium. Recently, I set out to find out what the emotional attraction was.  I started beginning flamenco classes.

There is nothing more shattering to the female ego than working before floor to ceiling mirrors and learning flamenco.  After almost 10 years of belly dance, and the last two having students, I was really up a creek.  It didn’t help that I have suffered a broken bone in left arm, ripped shoulder, cracked ribs and a severely sprained right ankle within 6 months of each injury. That was last year, and the ankle almost two years ago this new year.  Sitting on my butt gave me lots of excuses to gain weight, get inactive and just find so damn many excuses to do nothing.  Yes, publishing some books was a good excuse, but there was no reason for this amount of inactivity.  Hell, I have three dogs that are in better shape than I am right now.

About the last year in belly dance, I remember a memorable night.  The club where we danced (troupe and individually) had a number of Moroccan and Spanish guitarists and male singers…all very, very attractive.  Perhaps it was the mystic of the flamenco music they were playing….but none of us dancers left after hours could keep our feet still , nor our hands from clapping in rhythm.  Some of us danced until 2am in the morning.  I remember one of the Spanish guitarists asking me why belly dancers are attracted to flamenco?  I hadn’t any real answer for him except it swept through the body and took possession of the soul.  That seemed right at the time.  I think it still is.

In this most recent venture I have found  there is just about NOTHING transferable from belly dance to flamenco.  The body is held differently, the arms are different, the posture has some similarities, but overall, it’s like the difference between painting in oils and then in watercolor.  And of course, the feet are totally in command of just about everything. Except the arms are, too.  Well, that has some similarities with belly dance.   But flamenco is never passive: it’s aggressive and when done well, totally captivating.

I feel like I have two left feet in this class.  I do. I can’t seem to remember the damn footwork, and it keeps me up until the early hours (where I can bitch and complain to friends via email) looking on the internet for the footwork of the class that I can’t remember.  Can’t find it, either.

However, flamenco is danced so passionately, such an expression of anger, joy, angst, etc…all those expressive emotions you don’t really get in ballet, etc…maybe in jazz….that it leaves great room for self-expression.  Flamenco is fierce.  It looks like the dancer has a dagger ready to plunge in the heart of anyone who opposes her on any subject.  Flamenco is liberation. It is a medium that is all commanding.  Someone said that the only emotion that is not expressed in flamenco is timidity.  I agree.  It’s just damn combative.  Cathartic.

Did I mention the shoes?  Well, I have tried to substitute something in heels for these early classes, and my feet are aching.  It’s not that the stomping of heels is a problem…it’s that I haven’t worn heels in two years.  Flats, Uggs, more flats and only recently some Merrill bicycle shoes.  I threw away most of my heels.  Never thought my ankle would support their wearing.

Well, I fell in love with the instructor’s shoes.  They are a beautiful teal suede, with two bows, a court heel.  She  buys them in Spain.  These shoes are made to each customer, and I am looking forward to this.  Of course, they are very expensive, and it will be a few months, because she is going off to Spain and Europe over the holidays and won’t be back until sometime in January. 

However, as much as the rest of me  can wait, my feet can’t.  I am going tomorrow to buy some flamenco shoes from a dance outfit that will make a half day’s trip.  Perhaps these shoes (I am told they also are made in Spain…) will improve my dancing…or maybe my memory for  the foot work?  I don’t know, but right now I am looking for anything that makes me feel more ….’flamenco’.  I’m treating myself to a dance skirt, too…so the flounces can jump if I ever get the foot work right.

Ole!

This poem might not be the best poem to post here, but so it goes lately.  My feet hurt and that trumps everything. 

 

 

THE RITES OF SPAIN 

 

Sharp azure skies

Rusty brown earth,

Black women’s shawls,

Goat dung flung by boys

At passing soldiers,

The Inquisition churns onward

Like the great mandala

Crushing bodies under wheels

Burning witches in great pyres

Ignited by ignorance

Of blessed padres.

  

Time of terror,

overtime superstition.

Of hidden manuscripts

under floor boards,

and investigations

Seeded by the envy of neighbors.

Goya colors flung on

the black of night,

Red of Blood

Death of White

Green of decay

Duller grays of corruption

Shiny blues of greed

Exchanging favors,

Cardinal to Cardinal–

Madrid to Rome,

And back again.

These are the colors

Of the Inquisition.

Holy-Terror-of- God in

Man’s hands

where nothing is safe,

Humanity defiled.

 

Soldiers force Rabbis

to spit on the Torah,

A diversion, for the net holds much room,

All ‘thought’ is open to this furor,

For terror reigns.

The banality of evil,

Which words belie the results

Fashions such existence.

 

Dark shawls drawn

Over frightened faces,

only the

Whites of eyes

gleam outward like hooded lanterns,

faces cast downward

when the Cardinals pass.

No one wants to be noticed,

There is Death in the

Very air,

A pox of hopelessness.

Gossip is gone

From the full rose lips

Of  women.

They huddle

Together,

Though no safety

In numbers.

  

Wearing an early shroud

To cover their

Beauties,

A slight sway of

Curvaceous hips

Could draw the Holy Terror

Upon their innocence

Condemned by black lipped priests-

Whores worthy of fire.

 

Cruelty and censure is the mantra of the day.

 

Breathe in the

Moisture of the drowned

Catch the blood

Flayed from bodies

Hear the sharp screams from

Those tortured,

And the

Sharper silence to follow.

 

Hope is gone

From the heart

Of Spain.

.

Now fear is the mantra of the day.

 

The disdainful eye

Of the Church

Informers,

Circling the

Spanish masses,

Like herding goats

From a horse,

Whip held easy

In the hand,

Ready to strike,

And strikes when not.

 

How many died

Who could give

Birth

To Enlightment?

Fear replacing

The Intellectualism of Spain.

How many aborted

By this

Scourge of Mankind?

 

Compassion forgotten

Humility distorted.

 

Lies the particular coin of the day.

 

The Inquisition

Rolls onward,

Tearing up

Soil watered by

Clotted blood.

Black tentacles

Of Power

Ripping

The heart

Of Spain

Asunder.

 

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted 2010-13

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20 Responses to “Flamenco and What Fresh Hell is This?”

  1. ManicDdaily Says:

    Hey Jane–so nice to see you! The Flamenco sounds like great fun. I can see that it would not have much in common with belly dancing (which also sounds fun) but I think of one as soft and swaying and jiggling and kind of a coffee brown and the other as sharp stacatto tapping/stomping — here may be some jiggle there but it seems unintentional, and black and red. The teal sounds great.

    A very interesting poem, you describe the Inquisition society–Spain–from theoutside in as it were, narrowing your focus. I especiallyliked the beginning. Thanks. k.

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  2. Caliban's Sister Says:

    FANTASTIC post! Followed by the poem, a one-two punch. I love the words you use to describe what Flamenco is: fierce, combative, aggressive, cathartic, passionate, liberation, commanding, everything except submissive and timid. The way you write about it reveals what’s so riveting about the form–it is dance as commitment to OWNING your ground. Forming statements with arms, posture, hands, neck, while OWNING your ground. Insisting, demanding, iterating, precision pounding. Btw, buying shoes locally is a commitment. Which is why you’re doing it.

    I love your paragraph about your dogs being in better shape than you. Same here. And there really is no excuse because one day we won’t be able to move and get around, and succumbing to despond is NOT an option (although we have been programmed deep in the amygdala to do so). Flamenco will re-program the amygdala, with ferocity, discipline, and no room for anything but commitment to standing your ground.

    The poem is gorgeous. Terse, tense, bare, bodies in check by patriarchal inquisitorial tyranny. Even having hips puts one in danger. I’m alerting my friend Kara, who is Spanish, to check this post out.

    It’s worth noting that contemporary Spain is one of the most enlightened and liberal nations on Earth. Amazing, no?

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  3. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! What a MAJOR JOY to read your comment this morning, CS! I wrote this around 2am??? because I just couldn’t sleep. I was up searching the internet for youtubes to try to get something of the footwork, and of course, the only one I found was totally in Spanish! LOL! But I think it’s similiar. However, I couldn’t fall to sleep until 4am because I was clacking my teeth together in staccato rhythm, and trying to imagine some fast footwork! Ah, the power of the imagination!! Hah! Or…Ole! LOL!

    You got it exactly. Flamenco is fierce and all those other things. You stand your ground against life and the world. How much I wished I had done this 30 years or more ago. I think women are definitely in a different mental place with flamenco than with any other dance….but then again, I’m just figuring it out. Just the pacing around making your ‘space’ on the floor, stage, etc…the hand gestures are so damn beautiful, someone said like white doves flying above you…well, my white doves are sitting on a branch right now, shitting on my head. LOL! Actually, the arms are easier for me now….than the damn two left feet. However, once I do these things enough, muscle memory will kick in and like in belly dance, the body takes over and then, THEN…you are dancing…you aren’t having to count or watch your feet. Ole!

    Actually, I have to rally to defend belly dance. Some former girlfriends..who never really were…were so dismissive of belly dance, thinking it was something like pole dancing (which is damn hard!) and something submissive. Hell no. BD is one damn hard discipline and I have the greatest respect for those women. Controlling your body to such an extent is empowering. Of course, most of American women just see the costumes and dismiss, but they don’t KNOW that belly dancing is basically birth movements….and the closed society of women in these nations cultivated something so essential and feminine (what is more so than birth?) so powerful, that it is only a certain part of the population that attempts to pervert it. I have a lot more to say on this but not here right now.

    Yes, had we been exposed earlier on to flamenco, I think that most of us would be in ‘a different place’…with men, society, and especially FOOs. I watch LaFani (my instructor) and she is so self-possessed while dancing, hell, just standing there watching us: she is almost menancing in her dancing, and what woman doesn’t want and want to feel that power? I remember dressing up as a castrato during Halloween, carrying a sword, and playing the ‘male’ role in something, and the POWER I felt just being armed with that sword! I still remember that.

    Perhaps Flamenco, with it’s fierce and commanding moves, works on that amgydala you speak of. Perhaps that sets up the change in so much of our thinking and behavior? We will see.

    Thanks, CS, for your very enthusiastic response, and please, as Kara to read. As I am an alien to this culture (right now….) I would also like her opinion. Perhaps Spain IS one of the most liberal and enlightened nations in Europe, but they still throw goats out of windows during festivals. Ugh.

    Jane

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  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hey K! So good to hear from you! Yes, there are very many differences between Belly Dance and Flamenco….but the body control in both are fierce and highly disciplined….but not much that I can drag into from one to the other…you are very right about that.

    We shall see. My joints are aging, but my mother at 93 is still able to do dance steps (ballet) so it’s just a matter of keeping active I would suppose. I’m about to find out. Today, this morning, I go looking for those damn shoes…something to tide me over until I get the ‘real’ ones (these are real, but just not teal…LOL!) from Spain after the holidays. I decided that in for a penny, in for a pound, and I am lucky that my dear husband supports this. He’s paying for it all. LOL!

    That poem was subtitled “Canto 1”, but I never got to Canto 2. LOL! Perhaps as I learn more about this culture and history….I can. Music throws me into a poetry mind…something that remains from belly dance, and that Hyperarousal Trance stuff.

    Overall, that was a strange poem, and surprised me most of all. I just didn’t have enough history to write more.

    Thank you so much for reading this post and the poem. I’ll be around this week and look at your marvelous work.

    Hugs, Jane

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  5. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Hilarious, your reply to my comment, Jane. Your hands like doves pooing on your head! Ha! I know that belly dancing and pole dancing take great discipline and physical strength; belly dancing has a long long venerable tradition too (pole dancing, meh, not so much). I LOVE those shoes–hell, I’d wear ’em to teach in. Scare the bejesus out of my students. That poem really is something; written in a very confident and authoritative tone, knowing, I guess, is the word. Masterful.

    The one thing I’d worry about with flamenco is my organs dislodging! 🙂 xoxo CS

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  6. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF…but not laughing. My damn feet hurt. Tried to walk around the house with them…these nails pounded into the heel and toe leave little dents on the hard wood. Oh well. Thought I could ‘break them in’. Hah. They are breaking ME in.

    Well, some women I know….who think they are oh-so feminist…tried to make the argument that pole dancing and belly dance derived from the same thing: male favor. Bull shit. It’s a western (and probably eastern) perversion of belly dance. The stripped down costumes didn’t originate in those countries…and today still in Egypt….a woman is not allowed to show her torso.(Turkey is quite different on this front..depends upon the city) She has a netting attaching the top to the bottom (which doesn’t do a damn thing to obscure the torso…lol). And many women dance in shapeless long dresses. Pole dancing is hard and takes a lot of athleticism….more than I ever had. But it’s a new comer to things. I hear it’s proposed to be in the Olympics….

    Those shoes: Hell, they scared me when the picture pasted on the blog front. Yikes! they were BIG. LOL! And red. I didn’t realize they would image so big. But at the money I paid for them, I should wear them to church, but I don’t go to church. So….I would love to hear them on the stone flooring there. Hah! Plus the color, what an appearance. People would be looking for the tail under the skirt.

    Yes, you should wear a pair in class and scare the hell out of your students. Just pick up the bottom and show them the nails. Would do it. LOL!

    “Rites of Spain”. Well, that came about after viewing closely some Goya. That painter scares the hell out of me. The Inquisition was not nice. Reminds me of my Castelian sisterinlaw. She sort of has that same mentality of the black lipped priests.

    When I first posted that poem, a lot of people were confused…didn’t know where it was coming from…sorta out of left field. Maybe so. I just didn’t have the steam and history to continue on….thought about it…about all the squashed rebellions, but this was a terrible time of oppression and fear. You’re right…it’s confident. K. said that it was presenting this from the outside in….something like that. She is a marvelous poet and very perceptive.

    Come to think of it, this poem and the FOO has so much in common. You know.

    Well, I’m going to soak my toes, they are numb. Either it’s diabetes or the damn shoes…probably both. Always you put me in a wonderful frame of mine, CS. You are a rare bird.

    Love and many hugs,
    Jane

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  7. czbz Says:

    Dear Jane,

    I read your new post this morning, first thing before getting out of bed. I wanted to respond but I truly hate typing on my iPad. Instead of finger pointing at alphabet letters, I promise to go downstairs and reply. And then, on the way to my office, I notice the living room needs dusting, the kitchen needs another wipe-down, my bedroom is a disaster and the front porch has cobwebs and by the time I’ve finished distracting myself with “dust”, I’ve forgotten why I was going to my office. My excuse? The doctor took me off estrogen supplements and now my family accuses me of having ADHD. At least they don’t think I’ve got Alzheimer’s. If I bought a pair of those giant red shoes with nails in the soles, they might call my doctor to give me a sanity test, though. ha! The truth is that I haven’t danced the flamenco since my divorce and that was ten years ago. Or the tango…whatever you call the narcissistic marriage.

    I loved your post and here is it 12:00 pm and I’m still smiling. You brought back memories of my dancing youth and my true love of high school: Drill Team. i was the drill captain, stomping my feet and flipping military turns on command. That’s KINDA like doing the flamenco in that we ‘owned’ our space and could aggressively kick the shit out of anyone getting near our boots. Or our beehive hairdos.

    p.s. I was a tap dancer for many years, even enough ballet to excuse my out-turning toes. You always remind me about the importance of getting OUT OF MY HEAD and back into my body! Dancing will do that—I’m so grateful my mother found a way to pay for my dance classes because “movement” kept me grounded and offered a creative release of physical emotions that could not be expressed in my culture/family.

    Love,
    CZ

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  8. ladynyo Says:

    Dear CZ….I am still laughing at your comment. Yes, Drill Team is kinda like flamenco. You command the field….or stage, or anywhere you place your feet. Oh! The Power! Drill Team especially! You go to war with those people up front, right? LOL! And yes, I’ve seen a few drill teams and I would want to keep my feet clear of their manuvers.

    Estrogen? Ugh. Menopause is a tried and true state for women and doctors mess with that. I want to achieve crone state (I’m in it already) honestly, with the wrinkles, the crow’s feet, the ….well, never mind. There’s surgery for all that. LOL!

    We have such an fixation on youth. I think feeling good and self-confidence only comes with age. I will write more about this, because flamenco has a very different foundation I think than belly dance, ballet, etc. It’s fierce and if it looks like no-mercy…it is. It’s the most empowering thing I have ever experienced. And what is wonderful, in Spain, and other places where flamenco is done and honored….the women are all sizes. Some very well-upholsterd. Technique comes with age apparently, though we only generally see the sylphs. Well, the amount of pounding on the floor seems to keep women who dance this stuff slim. And titless.

    I had early ballet, but the ballet teacher was my mother and as she said: “This family needs only ONE balletina.” Should have seen it coming….the earlier forms of her narcissism. LOL! Well, nothing to laugh about because I was told early on that I was ‘too big’ (translate: my boobs came in too early) and besides, she weighed everything on a postal scale on the kitchen table before she ate. At 93 she has been chasing the same 5-10 lbs extra all her life. Hell, I have that much extra in a thigh. Or two.

    Flamenco and divorce. Well, I think every woman who divorces should be mandated to enter a flamenco class for at least 6 weeks. You can (as CS said…) stomp that sucker flat under your feet. And about those red heels? You would put the fear of GOD in your family (especially those annoying members and we know who they are…) if you showed up wearing those at the dinner table. LOL!

    What you said in your comment about movement and emotions is universally true. Better and more immediate than therapy, I think.

    This morning, at around 5am…I got up and watched a Youtube video over and over for a few hours because I was so depressed that I couldn’t get the early Sevillanos moves (a 4 part folk dance). Two weeks in the class and I expected I would, but NO. I was all over the place, and good thing I was on the end, because I would have started a fight knocking into the sylphs in there. But I have learned (sort of) the first part of 4 parts…sort of…and what was lacking besides confidence was BALANCE. You can’t do these steps without balance and holding yourself correctly. Back to that butt tuck and something about ‘zipping up the stomach’, which frankly, didn’t impress me when the instructor has no belly (and no tits).

    Flamenco is a fast track to losing weight by the ton and regaining muscles. It also reduces blood sugar (I am diabetic) and around 1pm my blood sugar was 96. Totally normal. Haven’t seen that number in a longggg time.

    Oh, I do the same, CZ. On the way to the bathroom, I see lots of undone stuff….some of it painting walls, plain dirt, rugs that look scuzzy, cats (9 and holding) demanding MORE food….three dogs howling in the laundry to chase whatever in the back…and usually I wet my pants. Comes with age.

    Getting out of our heads…well, we both are writers and that is hard. We live in our heads. And I think over the years that has become an excuse to ignoring our bodies. In belly dance, I got to a point where I cheated: I could always find the easier route. Not so with flamenco. It keeps you constantly in the moment..otherwise you flail into a mirror or window. Again, balance is the only reason you can do those damn steps. So, that was what I was missing those first few lessons.

    Finally, flamenco is so damn individual. It’s not about instructor/performer worship. It’s a place, a vehicle to really get in touch with yourself, your possibilities and grow. It’s great for anger and hurt feelings, as CS has pointed out…all that sharp stomping.

    I’m going to attempt to seriously learn the fundamentals, but I am also going to make this dance my own. Our characteristics, our personalities make this possible. Perhaps any dance style is open to this, but there is something very raw and different about flamenco I am finding out. Those red shoes help!

    Love, Jane

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  9. czbz Says:

    Oh fabulous! Picturing you dancing flamenco is so inspiring! And even though you didn’t say so, I was wondering about the ‘peeing in your pants thing’ when you stomped your feet. The last time I went to my parents house and jumped on the trampoline, well…let’s just say I pretended we’d been running through the sprinklers. ;-P

    When I go upstairs tonight, I’m going to Snap my Fingers over my head and pause half way up the stairs to stomp my feet. Then I’ll go to the bathroom. By the way, those red shoes remind me of Ruby Slippers…which makes them even more meaningful. I will never picture you again without red shoes on your feet.

    Okay. So about pole dancing and the Olympics…its gonna take more than one paragraph to convince me this is a sport that should be included. I already cringe at women’s Olympic beach volleyball. If I had to watch pole dancers, oh dear. Over the years, narcissists have left their families for erotic pole dancers so the association is a hard one for me to deal with. I am very open minded BUT maybe the Vegas strip has ruined athletic pole dancing?

    Belly dancing is way different from pole dancing, at least to me. Sure, there are women who view it as sexy but they’re kinda doing it for the Outfit (“I Dream of Jeannie” Wannabees). I watched an incredible belly dancer from one of your early blog links and was absolutely stunned by her physical mastery!! If you’ve got a pole dancing link that might get me to change my mind, please post it. It’ll be a hard sell though.

    p.s. There’s an informative page on Wikipedia with a flamenco compass…and a beautiful picture of Belén Maya. I sure wish I’d known that pose when the “Other Woman” showed up at my house. ha!

    Love
    CZ

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  10. ladynyo Says:

    Rolling on the Floor! Hold up. There is NOTHING inspiring about me attempting flamenco. Only if you are an insurance agent and thinking of the coming claim when I crash through those damn mirrors in class. LOL!

    I’m getting better, actually have a left and right foot now, instead of two left feet. I was panicking that I couldn’t remember the steps…and no, I couldn’t, but my bigger problem was balance. Until you get something of that, you can’t to squat. Keeping my arms in towards my body, and that body rather stiff helped. Then I wasn’t thrown off by the limbs flailing around. LOL!

    Stomping and peeing. Hasn’t happened yet, but this is a very common occurance at our age. Hell, we have lived enough life to expect parts to fall off, so this is a little thing, the wet pants routine. And…I wouldn’t do this flamenco stuff on the staircase. LOL! THAT is a recipe for disaster. Balance, again. LOL!

    Yeah, Ruby Slippers. LOL! well, Judy Garland complained that they hurt her feet, and I second that. I took a hair dryer to mine and with thick socks and a lot of shoving, I actually stretched them where I needed. Maybe too much.

    There is an awful lot of ballet in Flamenco. The rigidity of the body, the positions 1-4 on the arms, even positioning the feet. Oh, PLEASE, watch that youtube I posted on the front of the blog. It is so beautiful. Even my doubting husband was moved. And that takes a lot. Especially about male dancers. LOL!

    Pole Dancers: Meh, as CS says. LOL! It would take a lot of convincing for me to think it was Olympic quality. Didn’t the original Olympics play in the nude? Perhaps then….well, I guess exotic dancers of any ilk would turn the heads of some men. Or most.

    You probably saw …I can’t remember her name, but she’s fabulous. She was doing a Drum Solo. Marvelous command of everything there. She is tops as a dancer. She also does Hula. She had the breast lift down pat, something that most instructors don’t teach, which is a shame. Three years ago, I had student (a 50 year old woman) who was very touchy about her very large breasts, and whne I tried to position her arms, she threatened to break my arm. Needless to say, that class ended right then. I was pretty shocked but then again, she seemed to have some issues. She now has triplets. LOL! Plenty of usage for those milk cans now.

    Belen Maya…LOL! I looked up that pix…and you are right. That’s one intimitating pose. I think of Belen Maya as the Lady Gaga of Flamenco. And I mean that nicely. I am more (a bit) familiar with the older dancers, from the 20s and 50’s I guess….just because they were so influencial in flamenco. Carmen Amaya and Sara Baras I know something about, but there is much more that I don’t. I’m beginning to find out.

    Carmen Amaya reminded me of Marlene Dietrich or Joan Crawford…very masculine dancer, but so powerful. Apparently she was also a real gypsy.

    Love,
    Jane

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  11. czbz Says:

    You are so funny! At least with the big-breasted woman, you knew
    enough to end the lessons. But wait, are you telling me that fifty-year old woman had triplets??!!

    How did I miss that video on your post? I dunno but it was very touching and familiar ‘cuz that’s what happens in my kitchen after I’ve baked a perfect Focaccia.

    You are so real, so human Jane! Now you’ve got me you-tubing Flamenco dancers! wow wow wow Carmen Amaya!! Is it even possible for feet to move that quickly? By the way, the belly dancer was performing with drums and the way she moved her hands? It looked like she had no bones, like her arms were slithering snakes. Beautiful! Do you still have the link somewhere? I’ve tried googling but haven’t found the video.

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  12. ladynyo Says:

    Hi CZ! That was Sadie, and the video of that drum solo was removed. I sent you what is a pretty good replacement, but worse costume. LOL! Sadie is amazing still.

    Carmen Amaya. Only 50 when she died…born in 1913-1963. Her family drove her crazy with their demands. Always the same story here, neh? LOL! She travelled with them as her troupe, but she was so much better. Must have been a very hard gypsy (gitano) life. She made plenty of money, but gave it away to friends and family.

    LOL! I might be real, CZ but I am an alien in flamenco. But! It’s truly worth it when you get through the pain. Oh, you don’t I’m told. The pain of flamenco is the pain of life.

    Love, Jane

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  13. Caliban's Sister Says:

    Stomping and peeing, you’re killing me…..It’s worth it when you get through the pain….’but wait, you don’t.’ Ah yes, the pain of life. Flamenco rules~ xo CS

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  14. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! You got it….the pain of life. Except today, I don’t got anything. I’m just tired, and it’s not the flamenco, though I made a mighty effort. I think it’s just life….the pain of life which gets you in the bones, joints, tissues, butt, etc.

    Yep…flamenco rules of life. The more I read on line about flamenco , and the history, it’s fraunt with immense issues: political, historic, class. There is ..or was, an anti-flamenco movement for a while, but because this is in part gypsy (gitano?) , it flows right over their backs. Now I know why those dancers and singers look and sound so angry. This IS the country of Inquisition. Memories don’t fade.

    And….studio is just a place. The real work is on your own floors. That is clear to me. Flamenco is more than a dance, it seems to be, or can be…a philosophy of life, or towards life. Reading about the earlier singers and dancers, musicians, they went through a lot of hell…and pain. I’m not so anxious about my ‘effort’ in class now, because the real forming of a dancer doesn’t happen there. It’s on your own time and dollar, to put it plainly.

    Read CZ’s new blog post today. Good God! That is amazing, but we expect it from her. No quarter there. It triggered so many memories and thoughts and comments, but I couldn’t get them all in. She has written a course work in Narcissism. Loved your comment, too.

    Love,
    Jane…

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  15. Aurelio A. Todd Says:

    Tap dance was first seen in the United States in the late 19th century. The name comes from the tapping sound made when the small metal plates on the dancer’s shoes touch a hard floor. This lively, rhythmic tapping makes the performer not just a dancer, but also a percussive musician. In its solo form, tap dance often includes an improvised section that might be compared to a solo taken by a jazz drummer. Individual tap dancers are recognized for having their own distinct voice or tapping style. William Orlowski is an accomplished Canadian tap dancer.

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  16. TR Says:

    I love dancing and what you say: ‘You see the passion and nobility of his dance, but you don’t see the effort. That is true dancing.’ That is so true.

    Looking forward to hear how it goes. xxoo

    P.S. It brought back my memories of dance as a child. There is something about dancing – trying to find the hidden beat.

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  17. ladynyo Says:

    you are right, TR…trying to find the hidden beat. Hah! I skipped my last class due to flu….but those red shoes are looking at me from the bureau. I will reup after the holidays. Flamenco gets in the blood, as you well know.

    Hugs,
    Jane

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  18. TR Says:

    So true, dance does that to you. Dance was my escape from my life at home with my parents when I was younger. My mom enrolled me in ballet class – not to enjoy art, almost every Indian American girl is enrolled in ballet because of the link between it helping a person do well at math because of the sequences you learn from it. Unfortunately for my mom, it got in my blood.

    I enjoyed reading about Flamenco, I have seen a show and I know very little. The emotional connection you make rings true to the show and video links on here I saw- anger, passion, angst – I find the beauty in the performances because somehow these raw (wild emotions) are contained in frame and there is such a discipline to it which is in contrast to how we feel these emotions.

    The shoes are beautiful. xxoo TR

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  19. ladynyo Says:

    LOL! Well, ballet and dance did absolutely nothing for me in math. LOL!

    I rather made a hash out of the recent classes. Too much to do around pre publishing two books and I should have realized that energy goes just so far…especially at my age. LOL!

    Will attempt flamenco again after January….for Feb. March sounds good. LOL! I got the shoes, some of the videos, and the skirt,…and they were expensive, so I better use them. LOL! I am thinking that those shoes, which really are comfortable (after I stretched them with a hair dryer…) would look good with any winter outfit. LOL! Course, on a stone floor (like in a church) they would make quite a racket.

    I saw- anger, passion, angst – I find the beauty in the performances because somehow these raw (wild emotions) are contained in frame and there is such a discipline to it which is in contrast to how we feel these emotions.

    This statement of yours above is deep and I need to think on it. But I agree. The framework is what makes the transference to a viewer, audience, possible. It is SO much different than belly dance…in that, the arms are curved, the hips and breasts are in motion, everything of the body is used….in flamenco…so much is rigid. More like ballet in various ways.

    Yes, such a discipline…and I was failing.

    Hugs, Jane

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  20. Patricia Wilcox Says:

    The flamenco most foreigners are familiar with is a style that was developed as a spectacle for tourists. To add variety, group dances are included and even solos are more likely to be choreographed. The frilly, voluminous spotted dresses are derived from a style of dress worn for the Sevillanas at the annual Feria in Seville . In traditional flamenco, young people are not considered to have the emotional maturity to adequately convey the duende (soul) of the genre. Therefore unlike other dance forms, where dancers turn professional early to take advantage of youth and strength, many flamenco dancers do not hit their peak until their thirties and will continue to perform into their fifties and beyond.

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