Monday, January 28, 2013

It's been a little while....

The more and more I do in Spain, the harder it seems to become to write about it all....So here's a little bit of what I've been up to:

Look at all that beautiful ham and cheese!

Christmas Eve Dinner (Nochebuena):
I went to my friend's house and ate
and sang and danced until about 4am.  :D

Christmas Day I headed to Carlos Heredia's house for some more dancing and singing and eating. 
Nothing better than a fire and some flamenco! 

I headed to Madrid a couple weeks ago to put together a piece with fellow Fulbrighter and tap dancer Alexander MacDonald that will be performed in Germany at the Fulbright Seminar there.  I don't want to post the video so as not to spoil anything ;)  ...but I'm pretty happy with what we put together, it's an interesting dialogue between flamenco and tap.  

Here we are after rehearsal in Madrid. 

My new year's resolution has been to travel more around Andalucía.  Last weekend I went to Carmona,  which is just outside Sevilla, and is one of the oldest urban sites in Europe.  

A Phoenician vase.

A picture of the menu of various sweets you can
order from the Convent of Santa Clara, which is
particularly famous for its yemas--sweets made with egg yolks.  

A photo of the Roman necropolis in Carmona.  So cool!

My impatience and Sevici:

Sevici is a bike system that I use to get around in Sevilla.  Basically, you buy a year long pass for about 30 euros, and you can take out a bike from any Sevici station around the city, and as long as you return it within half an hour it's free.  After that I think it's about a euro an hour.  A few weeks ago, I go to take out a bike, and the screen says I have a debt of fifty something euros! I couldn't believe this--I *almost* always make sure the bike is parked well (it beeps twice if it is after you return it).  
For several days, I called, Sevici, I went to the Sevici office, I sent email requests to Sevici, and they said a technician would go to the station I returned the bike to and see if it was my error or their error.  And they said that would take one day.  Yeah, well, after about a week and a half with no bike and no response, I decided I would pay the stupid debt, because I really need a bike.  Well, of course a few hours after I decided to do that, I get an email saying that the debt was an error of Sevici's and they removed the debt.  So then I had a useless 50 euro credit on my account. Argh! I simply don't have patience like the Spaniards, but I'm getting better.....Anyways, lucky for me Sevici took the 50 euro credit off and transferred the money to my bank account....but really, I need a little more patience to live here.  

And last but not least, what I've been doing with most of my time:

I've been reading this book.  But not just reading it.  I'm looking up everything in it I don't know, every name that is mentioned and not explained.  I listen to every singer and song that is mentioned (hooray for Spotify!)  This is a book that I have been meaning to read for a long time, and I think I just wasn't quite ready to read it.  The author, Ángel Álvarez Caballero, assumes the reader already knows a significant amount about the cante, and I am finally to the point where I know enough to really delve into this book which is a dense history of flamenco singing.  The history of the cante is so essential to understanding flamenco; everything comes from the cante.  I think that as a flamenco, it's essential that I have a deep understanding of the singing, since that is the base for the dancing.  

And I've been listening.  Repetition seems to be the key to everything.  Listening to a song once just doesn't cut it.  I listen over and over to whatever song I happen to be studying.  It's the same in dancing--it's only once you've repeated something over and over with consciousness and awareness that you are able to understand and learn.  And I have a LOT to learn about flamenco.  The more I learn, the more I realize I lack, which inspires me to study even more.  Flamenco is so profound, full of so many corners to discover and decode!  

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