This is a tale of how certain events lead to subsequent events allowing for a vision in spite of skepticism and self-doubt. Basically, Portland Flamenco Events began without a whole lot of planning. It was one small idea for one small event that turned into a whole flamenco business! Ok, so allow me to begin this story with Ricardo López, for this guy is a big part of the reason I am pursuing this work right now. I met him in 2006 when he was in Portland touring as a soloist with the Nuevo Ballet Español as a part of the White Bird Dance Series. He inspired me from the moment I met him and saw him perform.
He did this smokin' bulerías surrounded by a group of dancers doing palmas and jaleos.
It reminded me of why I loved flamenco
And made me want to do flamenco
And be around flamenco
At the time I had no teacher and felt like I was constantly working. I would dance on my own or with friends when I could, but it was not enough. When I met Ricardo after the show, I told him that the company should have given classes while they were here as there were so few opportunities in Portland. At which point he told me that he often came to the states on tour...
I wasn't expecting a response like that.
Then I had this thought,
This little thought,
"Hey, why not organize a workshop?"
It was actually kind of a big thought, for me, a full-time elementary school teacher.
We exchanged info, and a few months later Ricardo contacted me to say he was going to be in LA on tour. It was incredibly last minute, pero estaba yo motivada. I had to bring him and his level of flamenco to this city for classes.
For some reason I NEEDED this workshop to happen.
So, with a lot of help from friends - Lillie and Stefani, thank you - I informed just about everyone we knew who did flamenco then searched the city up and down to find a studio to rent and, hence, a workshop was born! And it was amazing. A room full of flamenco lovers gathered together at a random kids dance studio in Tigard soaking up Ricardo's aire.
And there you go. He infected us. We all fell in love with him.
And then the workshops ended.
"¡Que lástima que te tienes que ir, ha sido demasiado corto!" I told him on the way to the airport, not thinking it might lead to...
MORE workshops three weeks later before he had to go home to España. Talk about precipitado. Thankfully Viviana offered up her studio.
In the summer Ricardo returned to the states with Compañia Rafaela Carrasco which meant, yes, más workshops for us, increíblemente successful workshops. The word had gotten out! In the span of only five months, three flamenco workshops series with a master artist had occurred.
And this, it seems, was the birth of Portland Flamenco Events
Though I still didn't quite realize it.
Stay tuned if you wish as the story continues. I'll tell you about how a short video snippet of a class in Spain called me to travel there to study flamenco...more than two years later.
About how I had envisioned arriving and being encircled by a group of gypsies who would command me to get up and dance then and there.
About how I went to Spain knowing almost nothing about the art form, knowing I wanted to learn but not knowing even what city I would live in.
About my time in Sevilla and about how I could mentally handle only about two hours a week of classes for the first few months.
About how I longed to come home but how something, maybe pride, maybe a greater knowing, kept me there for nearly a year.
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