GUEST POST: Below is an article written earlier this year by Diana Bright,  flamenco cantaora (and singer of many genres) and long-time member of the Portland arts community:

February 5, 2011

I recently received a letter from a friend of mine that I have known in the arts world for about 8 or so years. Her letter compelled me to write most of what is written below.

Community: Passion or Technique?

Everyone involved in flamenco is in it for different reasons. Some fancy themselves being on the stage and recognized in some way as a flamenco. Some actually already see themselves that way. Some are raised with it as a familial expression. Some do it as a passion. Some as a hobby. Some are not sure why but enjoy it. Some need the community. Some have been asked to lead a community. The origin of flamenco was never about technique, it was only about passion. When you are passionate, you have talent. I have seen people do CRAZY things with passion and people are moved - period. Technique has only stirred a robotic sense of awe - like how impressed you are by your computer. It is only passion that stirs the soul. My life has felt passionate. However, my life has not had a single focus. A "jack of all trades, master of none". I have been a violin player, a singer, a dancer, an interior designer, a mother, a wife. As far as flamenco, for me, it is a hobby. Something I do with friends as long as I enjoy it. Is this because it is not my passion or because I am afraid? What has stopped me from being amazing in general? Fear and resistance to failure, success and the wrong concept of community. It has kept me from the really hard work and from my destiny. Communities are, by definition, groups that gather due to a common interest. A common interest that they wish to keep alive due to passion. For some, community is a vehicle. What community should never ask of you is to lose yourself to the group. Destructive behavior comes when we are not living our passions ourselves. A community thrives on passionate individuals that don’t mind hard work for the betterment of themselves. In the meantime, those artists recognize the same gesture of self love [discipline] in others and in their community. This keeps them together. My goal this year is to see the passionate and disciplined artist in me and see it in my communities. I am turning my critic into a brilliant mentor. What is your passion? How does it feed your community? No one knows your story, your heart, your soul. That is between you and God. Dance because you love it on the inside. Do anything that is an authentic expression of yourself. Do it with conviction and passion. If you have a community, makes sure it has an authentic conviction that includes everyone having their own personal achievement.

What do you think?  Leave a comment here.

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