The Festival de Jerez is in full swing right now, so today I'll share with you a video from there taken earlier this week of Ana Morales with Juan José Amador singing her this letra:
A la orilla de un río
yo me voy solo
y aumento la corriente
con lo que lloro
Writing saved me in Jerez, ... And then it got in the way.
Today I want to talk about how writing can become, well, detrimental in class.
I'll begin with another excerpt from my notebook:
April 19, 2011
Mercedes scolded me once again in class this morning, calling me back out onto the dance floor. Clearly I was to be dancing, not writing.
Yes, once again, Laura and her book has come up. It comes up a lot. No one else writes anything down in Jerez.
They don't get me, I know, but I totally don't get them either!
I can't imagine learning flamenco without pens and paper. I really can't.
On paper I take notes. On paper I figure things out. On paper I put the thoughts that circle inside my head. And there's just something I like so much about the feel of the pen moving atop the paper.
I often write in little books
They helped me a lot in the beginning, in Sevilla.
They help me today.
And they helped me a lot in Jerez.
On the wall of her studio Mercedes has a photo of herself with Marco Flores when they were young. I wish you could see it. In the interview that follows Marco mentions how they danced together when they were starting out. They still do.
You'll also find out about how Marco grew up with flamenco in his family, how he began his career, and about his process of creation. He even shares some direct tips for us as students, though bits of advice can be found in all of his responses.
I originally posted it in 2011 and repost it today after watching snippets of his latest espectáculo from the 2014 Jerez Festival. Oh how I want to see that show! Further down you'll see a video of him dancing solo por siguiriyas.
It was 2008. And I was in Jerez.
Ten years had passed since that first trip to Spain.
Finally, I had made it back.
So there I was, at the festival, getting ready to study with my best friend for the very first time.
It was Ricardo who told me I needed to study with him.
And without pause.
I needed to study with Manuel Liñan.
Naturally, I was scared out of my mind. As was Lillie.
But we weren't supposed to be scared.
Not this time.
March 13 Sunday Cómo se dice raining cats and dogs in Spanish? For that is what is happening right now as we sit inside El Arco, our apartment here in Jerez. The rain feels nice, refreshing and kind of cozy, this might have something to do with the fact that I don't have to go out in it, olé! And now Jackie has come and brought me a glass of Carlos I, que vida más rica! In other words, we used the weather as an excuse to rest today after another intense week of flamenco.
GUEST POST: Reflections from the experiences of Portland flamenco dancer Jackie Howard Kraybill, "La Juanita," at the Festival de Jerez in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain.
April 1, 2011
Reflecting back on our time in Jerez for the 2011 Flamenco Festival, it is hard to decide what was most important in making it such a special trip.
First, the great classes: Ana María López teaching the subtleties of timing and gracia in the Bulerías de Jerez; Marco Flores (be still my heart!) teaching a cute and challenging Alegrías. But for me the pinnacle of classes was the one with La Rafi - Rafaela Carrasco. She taught a Serrana, which was a new palo for me and helps the "learn one of everything before I hang up my shoes" list. The choreography, rhythms and movements were as challenging as expected - the first day I thought I was going to pass out from fear. But over the days my confidence grew as I was able to keep up (it was a Medio level class filled with Spanish professionals!) and actually learn and execute the steps. It was an exhilarating feeling, that's for sure. Part of the reason this art form is so addictive!
March 6 Sunday There is a different energy this week compared to last week. Is it due to the rain? - actually closer to the way I remember spring weather in Spain - Or perhaps it is that some of the excitement has worn off? Or is it that I am taking classes by myself this week, without any of my compañeras from home. I was only signed up for one festival course, so I decided to take a tangos workshop from Tatiana Ruíz, the daughter of Chiqui de Jerez. The girl ought to be a sergeant in the US Army, though I suppose she talks too much for that. In any case, she worked us hard today and clearly took great pleasure in doing so. My brain quickly went into overload as I tried to execute the steps at a seemingly impossible pace while at the same time struggling to understand how in the world Tatiana moved her body as she did. Later that afternoon I headed to my bata de cola class with Alicia Márquez. It moved slowly, so I was able to get things, but still, how ever do I get this awkward train to cooperate and do what Alicia's does?! As I walked down the halls of the bodega after class, I poked my head in the various rooms and fantasized that it was my home.
...This one being Srta. Laura Onizuka during her first week:
Perhaps you're wondering, How might I spend my time were I to attend the Festival de Jerez? Here is what a typical day might include were you to rent a centrally located apartment with some amigos and sign up for a couple of cursillos:
GUEST POST: Below read reflections from a flamenco workshop with Manuel Liñan at the 2011 Festival de Jerez from Heather Williams, flamenca from Portland:
March 1, 2011I'm writing this from Jerez, Spain, where I'm making my first important flamenco pilgrimage: the annual Festival Flamenco de Jerez; an opportunity to study baile with the best dancers, to see performances every night, and just soak up the lively Andalucian culture. Jerez is definitely a flamenco town- walking the narrow winding streets you can hear it everywhere; the guitarist practicing a soleá in a rooftop garden, thundering footwork coming from a tiny studio, and the ubiquitous town drunks, who sing (in several cases, quite beautifully) for a cigarette or a few spare coins. Ah, it's so wonderful to finally be here!
February 26 Saturday Our first day of classes...Nervous as ever to go to Manuel Liñan's class, and I think my nerves were contagious. Sorry, Heather. We were like eager kindergartners on the first day of school arriving 20 minutes early, the first ones there, I don't know if I've ever been the first to arrive. Actually, Manolillo was there and even said hi - we soooo enjoyed class. Went to find the supermarket afterward, and on the way (I hadn't put my jacket on yet; it was warm and we'd just worked hard!) I pass an older woman on the street. Without making eye contact she looks at my clothes and says, "Hija, hace calor pero tampoco para irte así" Haha, I love Spain! Went home to make lunch, rest a bit and review what we'd learned in class. Then off to afternoon class with Marco Flores. Was wonderful to see him again and to thank him in person for the letter of invitation he wrote me to come to the festival.