“Es una danza pura.”
Our program director’s eyes were filled with excitement as she explained to us that Flamenco “is a pure dance” before the live performance began. We had somehow been moved up to the front row (The universe provided us with that treasure). And, after reflecting upon everything that I witnessed that night, I am in complete agreement with her that Flamenco is a “pure dance.”
We were close enough that the sweat that flew off the backlit strands of the dancers’ hair landed on us. It was as if we were being sprinkled with Holy Water. And, perhaps, the beads of sweat were sacred due to the authenticity and purity of the art form and the performers’ connection to the present moment.
What made me believe this was such a genuine form of artistic expression?
The male dancers’ powerful stares dared us to challenge them to stop dancing. The woman dancer’s graceful, and sure flicks of her wrists paired with her squared shoulders exuded healthy confidence.
She would pause, facing towards the singers to place her hands upon her stomach. Her gaze remained fixed upon theirs, as if doing so intensified the interactional synchrony between her movements and the music itself (via the proxies of the vocal chords of the singers, hands of the musicians, and body of the dancer).
Her unsmiling face contorted itself to express every emotion on the spectrum.
I saw pain-perhaps, it hurt not being able to release every emotion out at once. I saw fear-perhaps, the unknown can provoke excitement that is confused with fear (Fear is excitement without breath). I saw elation, excitement, liberation, empowerment, and uncorrupted ecstasy. It was as if she wanted to cry, laugh, scream, shout, and smile simultaneously. I found myself on the edge of my seat, intrigued to see what she was inspired to do next.
And, just when I thought she was going to leave the stage without smiling, she would allow a slight upturn of her lips before taking a modest bow. A calm ending to a feverous beginning.
The impromptu nature of these individuals’ artistic expressions epitomizes the practice of mindfulness. They lost themselves in order to be fully present in the moment. In their seeming lack of control, the surrendering of their soul rendered them in complete control of the Now. In nothing, they were able to reach everything. That is purity.
Peace, Love, & Happiness (Paz, Amor, & Felicidad),
FUN FACT*: The least important dinner guest sat at the head of the table.
When we visited El Palacio Real, we learned that the 5th seat in from the end on each side on the table was reserved for the king and the queen, who sat across from each other. The most important dinner guest sat to the king’s right, and the second most important sat to the queen’s left. Using this pattern, the least important dinner guest ended up at the head of the table (contrary to popular belief of the host’s position at the head of the table).
*It does not have anything to do with Flamenco. I just thought that it was a cool piece of trivia to know.