I’m only dancing…

December 22nd, 2017Posted by Nancy

So last February, after a year of saying “I think I’d like to do that”, I signed up for an introductory flamenco dance class at a local studio.  When the option came to do another four weeks with the same class, I signed up for that too. And then one more time.  I wasn’t really good at it but I liked it and I hadn’t had to make the decision to buy proper shoes and a skirt yet.

Then it was time to join the regular beginner class on Thursdays. I rapidly found myself out of my depth, in tears at the end of the class, and convinced I would never ever be able to make my feet move that fast. I was going to quit but my wonderful teacher suggested that I switch to the Wednesday class, which was now finishing it’s second round of introductory lessons.

That change made a huge difference and, almost casually, I went to Malabar and bought some generic dance character shoes.  I was reluctant to buy a skirt on ebay, Etsy or from Spain (which seemed to be the only options) so I had a friend’s dressmaker create one for me.  It even has a removeable red ruffle.

We’re supposed to do a recital at the end of February, which terrifies me, but I seem to just keep going to class.

Why do I like it?  It’s not because I’m any good at it. But it seems to be a dance form that values soul over perfection, that embraces the full range of women’s bodies and ages, and that, once in a while, lets me have a moment of grace.

It occurred to me the other day that flamenco is a bit like punk: it’s important to “mean it, man.”   I might not be able to stamp and clap in alternating rhythm but I can certainly try to mean it.

Here is the trailer for Carlos Saura’s 2010 film Flamenco, Flamenco, for a taste of what it can do.

P.S.  If you’re in Toronto and want to try this yourself, Arte Flamenco offers 4-week introductory classes on a regular basis. It’s addictive, though.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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