Here's a forum for all of you to comment on our Saturday sessions!
|melissa cruz flamenco||
My blogs have been few and far between, mostly because I'm not in the practice anymore of journaling. Today, I feel strongly about writing. For the past week, I've been co-teaching an intensive program called The Deeper Lab - a workshop partnering flamenco dance with creative composition. Participants were asked to do a lot of unorthodox things - things they don't usually associate with flamenco dance class. For example, we did exercises in mirroring and improvising movements, we analyzed videos, gave feedback free of judgment and did a lot of discussion and thoughtful writing about the why, what, and how of everything. The concept of experiencing discomfort as a catalyst for change isn't novel, but somewhat novel in the usual flamenco dance class. I imagine some people go to class for fun to engage in a hobby, to relieve stress, or to exercise. That is definitely not the circumstance for these ten dancers. Some moments have been quite intense and provoked emotions to surface - emotions that are usually hidden very deep inside. Despite feeling this nakedness and vulnerability, these dancers, showed themselves as they are - each with their unique sense of energy, their personal brand of expression, and their own interpretation of this mysterious art form. Each recognized their perceived weaknesses - some challenged these demons head-on quick and fast. For others it felt like a blind struggle - but with crazy inner strength and positivity, they fought back with wit and clever thinking. As I write this before starting the last day of this program, I am feeling a little melancholy that I will not get what has been my daily jolt of inspiration from these people tomorrow or next week. I have relished seeing each of them create movement that speaks from who they are, where they come from, and what their personal histories are. I have learned from these dancers as much or even more than what they think they've learned from me. I've learned that finding your inner artist requires courage - you don't ever know what's going to come out or how - it can be beautiful or grotesque. Artists accept their fate of being vessels. They accept the possible discomfort and pain of giving birth to that baby, their creation, because they have no choice. Then raising that baby is like honing their craft, and they are single parents - it's scary, it's joyful, it's frustrating, it's hard work. And now, it's just the beginning.
Wow. After several months of classes, my dancers can accompany my countertime footwork with palmas. I'm elated.
I'm requiring all women dancers to bring and wear full practice skirts in my classes. I was fortunate enough to study with a master teacher who taught me the technique of dancing with a skirt - in fact, if you came to class without one, she sent you home! It's a dying art and I am loving the process of passing it on.
Next palmas/palos class is this Saturday 1/19 11-1230pm! This week:focus on tientos, tarantos, garrotin, tangos de Malaga and farruca.
Dancing this Sunday: The Flamenco Room@Thirsty Bear Brewery SF with Felix de Lola, David Paez and Kerensa DeMars. Sets 730pm and 830pm. Free!