The studio door opens and I start to leave after each class to tend to the rest of my life. Often, my departure is postponed by something. It could be a question about my family, it could be a discussion about a sleepover with my daughter or maybe a sidewalk conversation about the struggles and triumphs of flamenco. Pondering this makes me realize just how much my flamenco friends mean to me and how much they actually are a part of “the rest of my life.”
These are not the kinds of friendships formed in a workplace, with a neighbor or the server from your most frequented restaurant. I am talking about friendships forged in flamenco. I am talking about the handful of kindred spirits I can no longer envision my life without.
What makes these friendships different from others? It is rather hard to put into words, really. You know when something just….IS. We sweat together with an unbridled passion for the art, although I am worlds apart in my talent and skill level, we ultimately strive for the same goal- to be able to feed our soul every time we dance, we have a resounding grit in our blood that drives us, we share emotion and vulnerability, and we provide a sense of safety for one another when the vulnerable side of our expression releases itself on the dance floor.
For me, our relationships go deeper than just dance class. We have shared secrets, pain, and heartbreak as well as fun, laughter, and mischief. We celebrate birthdays and weddings together. We take walks together. We break bread together. We go out dancing until the wee hours of the morning together. We attend parties together. And sometimes, we just sit and talk sharing a bottle of wine (or two) together.
Maybe it is because the art form of flamenco is so full of emotion and passion that allows such close bonds to be formed. It is easy when you share a deep respect and appreciation for the same thing. I think, though, that it goes beyond that. Yes, flamenco is what brought us all together. Yes, flamenco is what keeps us grounded and connected to one another. It is the heart and soul of these people, however, that really speaks to me. I have truly never had friends like this before, friends I can count on for anything and who I can sincerely open up to. Friends who have become family.
I love these people…more than cheesecake (inside joke). My friends and flamenco make me so happy and I know I will have both for a lifetime.