I wrote in my last post about an upcoming show I was going to be performing in. Well, that turned into TWO shows in TWO days! Talk about being nervous! Wow! As it turned out, I had little time for that. I had practicing to do. Especially since two of the dances in the lineup were absolutely brand new for me to perform in public! No pressure! But it ended up being a lot of fun!!
I am always happy to gain more experience showcasing flamenco to an eager audience. And there is always a valuable take-away for me; floor too slick so careful with the footwork, crowd is younger/older so may not know how to react, venue is small so manage your space, mistakes will happen so just keep going no matter what, etc. The latter has been the hardest for me, as I apparently have some innate reflex to make a face or stop altogether when I falter. I do this in class as well. But, I am happy to report that, although I made a couple of small missteps, I didn’t stop! I kept going! This is a big hurdle for me to have jumped and maybe, just maybe, as I edge towards gathering more experience, this will one day be only a small pebble on my flamenco path.
I have survived three student showcases which are always fun events because all levels and all classes come together for a recital-type culmination of what we have learned over the fall and winter months. This is predominantly attended by friends and family. I remember my first one very well. A foot injury prevented me from being able to wear flamenco shoes at the showcase that year. What did I do? Danced anyway…in sneakers!
I started counting my true “public” performances this past summer with a gig at the Kentucky State Fair. Then there was an AIDS/World Day fundraiser around Christmas. Last weeks third and fourth public shows for me were at a local Catholic school hosting a multicultural dinner and at a Senior facility for mostly Russians and Cubans. I have to say, so far, the Senior Center has been my favorite. The attendees were very excited to have us there and it showed in their faces. They were very attentive and even clapped along and called out to us when one of us did something they enjoyed. It was very rewarding to see how entertained they seemed to be. As we were leaving, they said, “Bonita,” or “Gracias” to us. So sweet!
That being said, this show was also the best learning experience for me thus far, making good use of the old adage, “the show must go on.” Between music and dancer having a rare moment of disconnect (in which the dancer successfully improvised), a manton getting stuck in earrings (another successful escape was made here), and the show finishing with 15 minutes to spare (the cantaora ending up dancing and stealing the show), there were several live-show-fake-it-till-you-make-it moments. It was a good lesson to witness how the more experienced dancers as well as the skilled musicians smoothly got out of these trouble spots and did not let on at all to the audience what was taking place. Brava flamencas! And equally as important, I understood how crucial it is to have some ‘go-to’ choreography sitting in your back pocket to pull out at a moments notice when we found ourselves taking to the stage to fill the final minutes dancing an unplanned number.
And, so, my awesome flamenco experiences continue!