As soon as I stepped into the class, I was hooked. Liliana was funny, charismatic, and exuded a confidence I wanted to emulate. I still have this image of her standing straight, shoulders back, long curly auburn hair flowing while she told us all about the ancient history of this dance form we were about to learn. There was such a mystique around it all, especially to my young 19-year-old mind.
Sometime during that first quarter, she introduced us to Carlos Saura's short film, Sevillanas. Sevillanas is a folk dance from Sevilla. As teachers often explain, it is not necessarily Flamenco, but every Flamenco must know it because we perform it in most traditional shows.
Well, we were watching the film because of course, we were about to learn the Sevillanas. I loved every moment of it. Like I said, I was already hooked. However, I didn't know what was about to hit me.
However, here, Camarón reminds us not to take anything for granted. I was immediately wrapped up in him, wanting to know who this pained man was and what was the cause of his pain. Little did I know at the time (I didn't yet know his name nor realized that he was a Flamenco legend) that he filmed this shortly before he died of cancer. In fact, he died the same year the film was released. This also meant, he was already dead when I first laid eyes and ears on him.
The dancer, Manuela Carrasco, another Flamenco legend, also captivated me with the fierceness of her gaze and movement. Her Sevillanas didn't look like anybody else's Sevillanas in that film. Not only did she change them up and make them her own, she was expressing his pain.
This scene, which I played over and over once I had my own copy of the film, is what finally did it. From that moment on, Flamenco was my life.
Sometimes I want to slap myself when I take Sevillanas for granted.
There are highlights to all of this in my more recent years. During my time in Madrid, I got to see Tomatito, the lead guitarist in this video, play live. It was gorgeous and he was gorgeous. A little over a year after I returned to the States, I got to tell Manuela in person about how this scene made me choose to be a Flamenca. That was 2010.
Some progress, eh? From seeing her on video to taking her master class was a span of 15 years. It took incredible patience, but it was totally worth it.
Hope the video calls to you to.