It’s the final day of the year, so let’s take some time to reflect before ringing in the new year. What moments stood out in your flamenco life this year?
Below you can see some of my favorite flamenco memories from 2018 (in chronological order). I feel extremely grateful for the wonderful experiences this year delivered. One of the things I most love is how each event pictured below offered a new opportunity to join with flamenco lovers from across the country (and the world in some cases) to enjoy this incredible art form together.
Here are my top seven flamenco memories of the year
The gathering together. It lit me up at the first flamenco workshop I attended with a guest artist here in town when flamenco was still so new to me. It lit me up with the first workshop I set up with Ricardo in 2007 and with each one since. It lights me up with every Flamenco Tour to Spain.
The FlamencoTour was born of my own struggles studying flamenco in Spain by myself and at the big festivals. The drive to do it was born of my longing to be there studying in an environment that felt safe and fun to me, amongst a small group of others interested in the same thing. Many of my past learning experiences in Spain did not feel (emotionally) safe, and very often the learning did not feel fun at all.
This was a problem.
My dear friend and mentor, master flamenco teacher Oscar Nieto who is based in Vancouver, B.C., happened to be in Jerez last fall during the Flamenco Tour.*
While he was there Oscar got to meet the students and observe some of our classes and activities. Below read some impressions of the Flamenco Tour that he shared with me during a recent chat:
"If someone wants to go to Spain on their own...
How do they know where to go?
How do they know who to study with?
How do they know what to do?
In your trips it's all figured out for them
In your trips they’re safe in their cocoon.
The students come back, and they’ve had a full Spain experience.
They didn’t just go to a studio and take classes, but you encouraged them to be in the ambiente, to get outside of the studio. And then they build social networks. That is really important. Especially for women who are seeking their dream to finally do flamenco in Spain.
Last night Mercedes danced in a way that was basically unbelievable. To be expected, as it’s her usual way. We already know that she eats, sleeps, and drinks flamenco.
But last night was even more unbelievable than normal.
So today we begin with a new round of interviews with Mercedes Ruíz. In today's interview, Mercedes talks about the longest amount of time she's gone without dancing, how she interprets a letra, and shares who some of her favorite flamenco of today dancers are.