Here's a tangos estribillo that we danced to with Mercedes Ruíz during the last Flamenco Tour to Jerez. You can see a tiny snippet from that dance below along with a video of Claudia La Debla.
Y voy y voy
date la vuelta ligero
como se la da el rejoj
y voy y voy
que despacito pasaban
la manillas del rejoj
Traditional festivals (ferias) take place in towns big and small across southern Spain during the springtime. Locals dress up, dance, sing, eat, and have A LOT of fun. There are the bigger ferias (those of Sevilla, Jerez...) and there are the smaller ferias (those of Sanlúcar, El Puerto...). These exclusive springtime ferias are unique to Andalucía, and each one has its very own encanto (charm). One of the great things about the feria is that there you get to see both professionals and everyday people dancing flamenco; some may not dance very well technically, but they dance from the heart.
Below you'll see a video of Samara and Rocío Carrrasco at this year's Feria del Caballo in Jerez along with pictures from a variety of ferias in Andalucía.
I'm still in a bulerías mood as I prepare to head to Jerez for the Flamenco Tour in a couple of weeks.
And so, today I have a video clip to share with you of a little girl from Jerez named Triana dancing bulerías (her signature dance of course) for Rafael Amargo. She starts off by singing the following letra then dances while her dad sings and plays guitar for her. You're going to love it.
From Veo Amanecer
Imposible me parece de creer,
que me enamoré de ti cuando solo te vi una vez,
y ahora te recuerdo y te recordaré,
como aquel bello gitano que me hizo enloquecer.
When is it too late to start learning flamenco? Find out below and watch a video of Mercedes Ruíz dancing as a little girl along with a bulerías clip from Carlos Saura's Flamenco Flamenco.
According to Mercedes Ruíz, "It's never too late do what you want to do." Sure, she began dancing flamenco at the age of four, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are doomed.
I began dancing flamenco at the age of twenty three, or was it twenty two? Pat began when she was sixty nine. Becky began when she was forty four. Many of the dancers I know began in their thirties, forties, fifties, and even sixties. Many danced at a young age then stopped for various reasons only to come back to it years later.
We can begin dancing flamenco at any age
And there is no 'retirement age' for flamenco dancing. We can leave it and come back. And we can continue dancing flamenco as long as we want to. This is something that I absolutely love about flamenco.
It is a dance for all ages.
Older flamenco dancers are in fact respected and honored. This is part of the flamenco culture. (See video clips below.)
A younger dancer may have different goals than an older dancer. And one's desires as a dancer may change over time, just as desires around all things in life will evolve.
But the bottom line is this,
I am hearing Ada singing right now. And Ellie doing palmas. I am seeing Margot dancing. This is all happening in my mind.
And I am smiling.
They are my nieces.
Between Christmas and New Year's Eve the four of us found moments of time here and there to prepare for our show.
I guess it has become an annual thing,
More on that along with a rumbas letra and a video of Estrella Morente.
My niece is participating in the challenge with me. In part.
She loves flamenco and started taking regular classes this spring after taking a class with Ricardo in Santa Barbara.
“Do you want to do some of Mercedes’s exercises with me?” I asked her on Christmas Day.
She knew what to expect as she had sat through her class in Jerez a coupe of times. (My nieces spent some time with me and the group in Spain last spring, and Margot happily, patiently, and voluntarily sat through hours of class with Mercedes.)
“Are we going to do the one with the hands?” she asked me as she stretched her arms out imitating the exercise, this exercise.
Today a tangos letra and a video of Jesús Méndez and Miguel Poveda.
You may recall last year when three little girls did fandangos.
A couple of weeks ago when I went to visit those girls Margot and Ada almost immediately started asking when we would get to do flamenco. My spring visit there was so short that we didn't do any. None at all. Apparently they weren't going to let that happen again.
Margot said she wanted to learn a new song and dance this time. And she said she wanted it to be short since we were without a lot of time.
We did tangos.
And while I'm not really into vengeance, this letra was on my mind. And it met Margot's requirement of being short.
Ok, so, I put this question up on the white board in the studio in mid-December... What can you do now that you couldn't do at the beginning of the year? [little or BIG]
And someone said this,
"I can't even remember the beginning of the year."
So I reworded the question:
"What can you do now that you were unable to a month ago, or a week ago, or a day ago, or even a minute ago!?"
What can you do now that you couldn't do before? [little or BIG]
Anyway, there it was on the easel with sticky notes...for people to respond...and some people actually did. Oleeeeee! So let's celebrate, the big and the small.
Here is what they said:
I have been performing for as long as I can remember - perhaps some of you have as well. It began at a very early age - with highly entertaining shows usually created and performed with my sister for my family. My poor family. As a little girl it progressed to producing plays with the neighborhood kids.
And in elementary school, PRESENTATIONS! Ah, the presentation; it quickly became one of my most favorite things.
Then came middle and high school and drama. Plays and musicals and more plays and musicals.How dedicated was I you wonder? Well, for those of you who know me, I actually CHOSE to get up very early to rehearse before school... I am not a morning person.