Posts Tagged ‘Flamenco’

“Bhava Yoga” and the resiliance of life….

August 8, 2014
PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace, Amazon.com

PItcher of Moon, available from Createspace, Amazon.com

Giant English Hollyhock

Giant English Hollyhock

I am amazed. Two weeks ago I lost my dear 102 year old Aunt Jean. She was the most influential person in my life. Warm, compassionate, wise, witty, when she died, I didn’t feel much. Now I know I experienced a numbness of emotion, afraid of what would happen when I ‘let go’ in grief. When my father died 24 years ago, I suffered criticism for ‘head nodding’ during this staged memorial service. That stopped me up and I was afraid. I gave too much power to a cold, self-centered woman who used power and control even at a funeral. I know now that grief, even over something so natural as (any) expression of grief….should not be corralled, denied, or controlled. I have learned something important here, and I have a lot of gratitude for those people in my life, especially the dead ones, for their support and compassion. I am grateful. Not so grateful for some still living….

I am also amazed at how the body and mind heals. It takes time, and I have had a particular arena to observe this: I am diabetic and my insurance (Humana) has informed me that I am in a ‘donut hole’. In other words, unless I pay a couple of thousand dollars and then the uninsured price (monthly) for these meds, I am on my own. Until the first of next year. In other words, the public is held up by pharmaceuticals and insurance companies who work hand in glove with them. Including the doctors that get kick backs.

At first I wondered what in hell I would do? And then, over the course of only a week, I realized the long term depression I felt had lifted. I wasn’t so damn numb anymore. And it could be traced back to the Victoza I was taking. Now? I am on my own, but it’s sort of a welcome challenge. Very tight control of what I eat and a lot more exercise. A LOT more exercise.

Last night my husband of 30 years brought home a leaflet advertising Salsa/Mambo classes. For years we both have wanted to take Argentina Tango, so we are still on the search here. But what a lovely gesture of my sweet husband to remember this! For the past week I have been working with 3lb weights and back to some belly dance movements: this has loosened me up, and my body feels better. A month ago I had a serious fall, and didn’t move much, afraid to, because of it. Now? Tango looks good. Even flamenco again, but I think that’s down the road. But I have the red shoes waiting!

As a poet, I exist in the realm of philosophical implications. I don’t think many of us can get very far away from that. My dear Aunt Jean was always so, and her letters express so much of this mindset, even to the very last one I received from her at 101 years old. I have so much to be grateful for. I have such gratitude for the presence of this stellar woman in my life.

Lady Nyo

Bhava Yoga

Morning’s roseate sky
Has been blasted away,
Branches now whirligigs
Swirl with a fierce southern wind
As windows rattle in frames.

A tattered umbrella
Shades from a relentless sun.
I listen to Bhava Yoga
The vibration of Love,
Where imagination meets
Memory in the dark.
Yet surrounding these soothing tones
The world outside this music
Conspires to disrupt, sweep away
Any centered down thought, reflection.

The fierce wind demands my attention.

Still, the pulse of Bhava Yoga
This Vibration of Love,
Draws me within,
Feeds imagination with memory,
Calls forth something as enduring as the fury outside,
And I feel the pulse of the infinite.

Our lives are lived in the spheres of
Inside/outside
And we are like birds,
Clinging with dulled claws to
The swaying branches of life.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2014, from “Pitcher of Moon”, published by Createspace, Amazon.com

Flamenco and What Fresh Hell is This?

November 14, 2013

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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