Thursday, November 8, 2012

T de Triana!

This past Tuesday, I performed at T de Triana, a restaurant on the famous Calle Betis in Triana.   It's a wonderful space where young dancers have the opportunity to perform...

My friend Julie caught the beginning of my solo on video :)

It had been two months since I had last performed, and I really had an urge to perform.  I love to dance, in any way, shape, or form, but I also need to perform.  There's something about expressing myself through dance to a group of people that I cannot survive without.  I think live performance is one of the most intimate and human moments people can experience--both as an audience member and as a performer.  I truly believe it is a necessity, not necessarily in a formal show, but even just getting up and dancing/singing/whatever among friends.

I danced a soleá por bulerias on Tuesday.  I was quite nervous, since this was the first time I had performed in Spain, the first time I had worked with these musicians, the first time many of my friends here would see me perform, and there are very knowledgeable and experienced flamencos in the audience.  I  wanted to dance my best, but also to have fun.  The dance was good, although not perfect, but I enjoyed myself very much.  Once I got to the tapado part of the dance--halfway through when there is no music but just rhythm and the structure was much less set, I really began to have fun and to be myself.  To feel comfortable enough onstage and with your dancing to just do what you want in the moment is not as easy as it looks, and it's taken me years of dancing to get to that point.

This is the beginning of my tapado section--you can see I'm having a good time ;)
This also gives an idea of the set-up of the restaurant.  

Performing is also a necessary part of the learning process.  You don't really know what you can and cannot do, what you really need to work on until you get on stage.  It's also hard to have the initiative to really put a dance together if you don't have a performance date booked ahead of time.  Up until the performance, I was working very hard in the studio putting together my soleá por bulerias, and now that I've performed, I know what I need to be working on even more in the studio.

On a side note, my mom made my awesome flamenco skirt.
It has a matching top too, but I went with black for a Halloween themed look... :P

Overall I was happy with the performance, and I had a wonderful night out afterward.  I went to a bar that has live music of Sevillanas and Rumbas with some friends, so we danced several coplas of Sevillanas, and then Jesus and I danced salsa to the flamenco rumbas.  After that, we headed to La Carbonería (another flamenco bar) where my friend Antonio, a jazz pianist and teacher at the music conservatory here, jammed out with a violinist from Amsterdam and a flamenco guitarist and singer.  It was amazing--I've never seen anyone accompany flamenco singing so well on the piano.

Once that bar closed, a smaller group of us decided to sit on a bench under a tree in a small plaza nearby, playing, singing, and dancing.  It was cold, but not too bad.  After a little while there, it started to rain, but somehow, under that tree we were in a little bubble where we were completely dry and the rain seemed to be falling in a circle around us.  It was ridiculously romantic and beautiful, and a wonderful way to spend election night--way better than anxiously staring at a TV.  It's nights like those that I will never forget...¡Olé Sevilla!

From left to right: Maya (fellow Fulbrighter studying the siesta), Julie (fellow Fulbrighter studying frogs at Doñana National Park, Me, Ellen (Studying art history with a grant from USC), and Katie (fellow Fulbrighter studying chemistry), and a couple of their friends....  It was so nice to have many supporters in the audience. :)
The fin de fiesta at the end was great--lots of people got up and danced a patada or short dance.  Yay!

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