“Hard times require furious dancing” so wrote Alice Walker. Flamenco fits this purpose the way chocolate chips melt into discovering the meaning of life inside a banana bread pudding. And so, I danced and danced and danced. Feet stomping, finger snaping, hands windmil swirving, gusto all abound.
What happens when the hard times are over?
As it happens, I am going through a phase of quiet happiness. For no particular reason, with no specialeness involved, warm honey milk flows through my vains. A sense of contentment. I find myself delighting hystericaly in simple things. A cup of coffee. A good night sleep. A walk in the forrest. I am not obliviouse to heart break wind blowing in my face. Bizarly, I feel self contained. Like I am deep diving in an ocean, all the rest is mupheled noise. Mere mumbelings. I struggle to pay attention.
So where is this furious dancing coming from?
On May 12 I will be participating in a flamenco show at Waterfront Theater on Granville Island. I am dancing the saddest most profound form. It is a mystery. I search for clues in the four corners of my routine.
Flamenco conversation with my son #1
My three children are busy baking cookies in the kitchen. I have been banished from my territory. I sit on the couch reading a book delighting in their chatter and laughter. On the edge of the conversation I hear an occurrence of bad language. A four letter word. Uttered by my son in jest. Mothering instincts leap in like a panther. I register my objection.
– Hey! Hey! language! If you use words like that I will take away your video games.
– That is not fair.
– How so?
– You swear all the time, yet receive no penalty.
– Not true, I never swear.
– When you dance flamenco, you swear with your feet.
His answer took me by surprise. The naked truth of it. All the flamenco performances this boy had seen, he actually understood. He saw beyond the elaborate costume, fiery music and choreography. How perceptive? Indeed that footwork roll is nothing but a stream of profanity. That hand gesture to the sky – blasphemy! All that chest thumping, thigh slapping, finger pointing – nothing short of ugly vulgarity.
What does this mean?
What is it that I want?
What am I searching for?
What do I hope to achieve from all of this?
Being in a performance means impossible amounts of work. For a mere 8 minute solo, I have probably spent 200 hours of practice. That is 25 hours of work per minute. Now isn’t that insanity? Why am I drawn to this like a moth to a burning candle? Is this some quieter form of insanity?
This thing is bugging me?
Flamenco conversation with my son #2
– Mom! if you could be any superhero in the world which one would you be?
– A flamenco dancer.
– That is not a super hero.
– Yes it is.
– No! it is not.
– Yes it is.
– Fine! What would be your super powers?
– I dance so well that people are left mesmerized.
– That is not a real superpower. Choose something else.
– Ok! When I dance, people’s heads will explode.
– Cool! that would be a cool super power.
What will you name this super hero?
– Elen Ghulam
– That is a bad super hero name, choose something else.
– How about Flamenco Explosion?
– Explosion on its own would be better.
So come to the show. If you walk away unharmed perhaps you can help me answer the question nagging me.
Where does furious dancing come from?