There are many reasons I love flamenco. It has embedded itself in my life in various ways. But, one of the strongest reasons I find happiness on my flamenco journey involves my daughters.
At the outset, this may seem unnatural for a flamenca. The idea behind this art form is to find the expression from within, for it to be unique to the individual. I do, indeed, strive for that and work towards it at every turn. However, there is also an outside force that presents itself as motivation for me. This force is something that courses through my veins and makes me the person I am; Sierra and Cassidy, my amazing and talented daughters.
When I started taking classes 3 1/2 years ago, I wanted to find something for myself, the woman, the person, for Lori. So, when, a few months later, both of my daughters were in the car with me going to class, I was admittedly a bit deflated. They saw how much fun it was and wanted to try it too and I could not begrudge them that. In fact, Sierra’s epiphany happened at a flamenco party when she saw all of us dancing. I’ll never forget the look of pride and wonder on her face when her little sister busted out some moves that none of us knew she had in her! Still, I thought, will I ever be able to step away from the “mom” role to have a passion that is mine alone?
That feeling did not last very long…not when I realized the Flamenco Gods knew exactly what they were doing all along! Sierra and Cassidy took to it immediately and I was stunned at what beautiful dancers they were! Dare I say, I was even a little green with envy. They were perfectly suited for this intense and expressive form of dance and I was impressed. Sierra can remember, and almost flawlessly execute, an entire routine after seeing it just once and has such great musicality and Cassidy has aire up the wazoo and mad footwork skills.
Some of the moments I hold near and dear are the car rides to and from class; 45 minutes, once a week, of uninterrupted mother/daughter time! As they get older and less connected to my hip, this was one time I could count on all of us being together. We talked about their school life, boys, friends, clothes, concerts, you name it. Sometimes, we just turn up the radio, roll down the windows, and belt out a little Journey, Queen, or Bon Jovi together. It is, of course, probably way more delightful for me than it is for them, but as a mother of teenagers, I take what I can get.
Over the three years, we have progressed through the levels together, them with a bit more ease and grace than myself. In class, we are fellow students. In performances, we are passionate dancers sharing the stage. At home, we practice together. Now that Sierra is in college, these moments with her are confined to summer months but it is a testament to the joy flamenco brings that every time she is home, she can’t wait to go to flamenco class! Meanwhile, Cassidy and I go to class together twice a week and are sharing the same fun but meaningful time.
At the Student Showcase last summer, the three of us were honored to perform a fandango together. It remains one of the highlights of my flamenco life so far. It illustrates not only how flamenco spans all ages, but how it can build connections and memories as well. I know it has for me.
It has been profoundly more enjoyable for me to share this experience with my daughters. We are here to support and encourage one other in a way no one else can. Children grow up in the blink of an eye and I am so grateful we found a way to share in something so special.
Flamenco, among all the other reasons I adore it, is truly a family affair.