Guided by the rhythm and passion of flamenco
Two weeks ago I hugged my beloved drum and gave it to my girlfriend from our drumming group Coral Beats.
She promised to take good care of it and write to me about where she played it. What happened? Bill and I decided to leave Bermuda for one year.
Our first stop on our long journey is sunny, joyful and lively Barcelona.
The centre of Catalonia, Barcelona, is a beautiful port city with a magnificent cultural and historical heritage, a unique atmosphere and charming architecture.
We like to wander through the streets of the Gothic Quarter for hours, marvelling at the street graffiti, admiring Gaudi’s surreal buildings, sitting in a street café soaking in the sun and watching smiling and relaxed people.
I really love to dream. When I dream I close my eyes and fly away to beautiful, and so far unknown, places like a snow-white longtail.
What am I always dreaming about when visiting Spain? Learning to dance flamenco in the country where this dance was born.
The first time I tried to dance this passionate dance, oddly enough, was in cold and snowy Moscow. This was my first winter after moving back to Russia from California many years ago.
I suddenly remembered the incredible energy of this dance and felt that I needed to learn it.
I intuitively felt that it would help me, give me strength, fill me with sun and hope. So it happened.
I arrived at the studio from the subway in late evening and walked down the street for a long time trying to find the address.
I was frozen. I didn’t know what to expect. I was late for the class but when I entered the large room with big mirrors, my heart blossomed.
There were women of all ages and different builds. They were so focused on the dance, straightening the ruffles of their dresses, honing their movements, snapping their fingers and castanets.
The leader was a gorgeous Spanish woman. Her hair shone like a black mirror and was decorated with a red rose.
She had big, dark eyes and eyebrows and she was very petite, with a swan’s neck and proud posture. She did not say anything, but simply showed the moves. I smiled and joined them.
In flamenco, like in ballroom dancing, there are no “adult” dance figures that a child is not allowed to learn.
The steps are guided by the power of emotions.
A child first learns to express joy in dance. Sadness and suffering can only be danced by a grown woman.
Flamenco is made of rhythm and emotions. You can dance what you cannot say out loud — about your love, pain, desires, past experiences.
It is all about rhythm and passion. Rhythm beat with a clap of the palm and the thigh, the toe and shoe sole.
Flamenco dance is assertive and powerful. There are passionate, primal grips, folding of the body and wide steps.
Women hold hands with their elbows sticking out to the side as if defending their position; they jerk up the hem of their dress and it looks dangerous, almost threatening.
There are bold movements of the hips: not deliberately sexy but natural, not stifled by society’s prescriptions.
This is a gypsy dance, the dance of a Spanish peasant woman. She got her proud posture because she carried water from the river.
Flamenco is about women’s strength, passion, sensuality and pride. It is my dance. My energy and my rhythm. I believe that one day I will fulfil this beautiful dream. What dance do you dream to dance?
• Nina London is a certified wellness and weight-management coach. Her mission is to support and inspire mature women to make positive changes in their body and mind. Share your inspirational stories with her at www.ninalondon.com