So I came to the end of my lyrical/jazz year. And in the last week, mid-June, the local Flamenco school had a demo. A friend invited me, and I went.
What is Flamenco about? It’s from the south of Spain. It’s about gypsies. It’s about living in caves and having only small spaces to dance from…so it’s about keeping your energy closely to you. Controlling what you let out. Drawing it back in. It’s about a stable core.
The arm movements amaze me. Even now, after five classes, the arms of this dance stun me. They are empowering. Just as a warm-up, even. I think I could spend an hour waving my arms around. Then reaching, and pulling in energy. Thinking of those who dance from wheeled chairs…this would be so good.
Then it’s tough–the footwork. The counting. Understanding the music and the inter-workings of guitar, drum, singer, dancer; the hierarchy. The signalling/language.
So I’m out on my back deck with my nailed shoes, working through mechanics. When I’m sure my backyard neighbours are ready to kill me and stuff me under a tree, I go out to the front step.
I’ve so appreciated the challenge of the dance of the past year. The young dancers were kind; they put up with me, the crone, flapping around. I loved the energy of the teacher! She’s a wonder. It does not rest with her that I always felt “outside.” It might be an age thing, yes. But it’s also something else. A settling in me as to what life is at 49. I like this age thing, truth is.
In writing for young people, there’s always some thread in the story about coming to understand who you are. But we are always changing. As I age, I’m not going for breadth. That time is over. That’s the 20s and 30s even. Now it’s time to go deeper. I think I’ll be able to do something with that with Flamenco.
Even though it still scares the hell out of me–asking my body to say anything. I’ve so relied on words.