Evelyn likes being in the back of the room. In the back where she thinks she can hide.
In the back where it feels safe.
Evelyn is a student and a reader here. I wish you could meet her.
She sent us an email, Evelyn did. She wrote it in response to this.
I wanted to share it with you immediately upon reading it.
She talked about wanting to hide in the back of the class. Even wanting to leave. About feeling stupid. And about feeling afraid.
I knew these thoughts she spoke of
As a fellow fearful stay-in-the-back-of-the-classer, I knew these thoughts.
I figured you might know them too, so I asked her if I could share her words with you. And she said yes.
A couple of weeks ago we had a performance. Abby, Julie, and Kikuyo, three members of the PFE Performance Group took part and danced fabulously, absolutely fabulously. I was so happy to be on stage with them, dancing together, supporting one another. I loved seeing how they each embraced their performance selves because they really truly did. As you may know, I love to interview people, so I asked these lovely dancers some questions. And I thought you might want to hear what they said.
It's the experience I had always wanted to find in Spain, and it has greatly enhanced my understanding of flamenco ... I've been to a number of flamenco festivals and schools, but I've never had a flamenco experience like this." - Stefani Miller
Would you like to know what it's like to dance flamenco in Spain?
Get the Day in the Life of a Flamenco Student in Spain series by clicking here.
Below Diana Welch, Oregon photographer, writer, videographer and flamenca shares one of her experiences with bulerías last Spring during her time in Jerez. Reading her story brought back memories of practicing with her in the living room, kitchen, wherever we could make it work. I also remember that she took a bus for about an hour to get to class, dedicada. Enjoy… Here in her blog, Laura has been discussing her learning process with respect to bulerías. While Laura and I are in different stages on the bulerias learning continuum, I experienced a sliver of light at the end of the tunnel in my own beginning class in Jerez last April.
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:
GUEST POST This article comes to you from Diana Welch, Oregon photographer, writer, videographer and flamenca. Reflections on her time in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain in April.
May 31, 2011
When I first heard that Laura was going to be in Spain for a few months, I wanted to be there, too. Images of sun splashed Arab architecture, flamenco classes, hearing Spanish in the streets, photographic possibilities, intrigued and lured me. Somehow, it came together and after 30 hours of travel from Portland, I was stepping into the culture of Andalucía.
Laura met me at the train station in Jerez. It was a brilliant day and the scent of orange blossoms wafted on a light breeze as we walked to our piso on the other side of town.
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!
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!