My flamenco experiences continue to inspire me! My very first tablao and solo performance happened recently when, much to my surprise and delight, I was invited to Los Angeles to dance with Los Colores de Flamenco and their guest artist, Inesita. I love making flamenco friends from all over, through this blog and social media, and everyone I met in L.A. was so welcoming and hospitable.
The weekend trip my daughter and I took to Los Angeles was filled with beautiful moments and happy surprises. One of the dancers, Rudy, kept us busy with sightseeing, breakfasts, a lovely paella dinner at his home and lots of good conversation about everything from flamenco to our children. One of the other dancers, Jacqueline, was also gracious enough to host us for dinner on the night of our arrival, which was a nice surprise after a long plane ride. I couldn’t have asked for better hosts!
The day of the show, I was filled with nervous energy! I have danced here in Louisville with Flamenco Louisville for many public shows; senior centers, the state fair, elementary schools and colleges for cultural events, student recitals, etc, but THIS would be the first time dancing in front of a paying audience in attendance specifically to see a flamenco show and my first time doing a solo! Yikes!! My new friends had quite the following at their quaint little tablao/Cuban restaurant and bar and I didn’t want to disappoint. Plus…I’d only been back to dancing since January after many months off the floor recovering from knee surgery, so was nervous about that, too. The best thing about my new friends? They sincerely just wanted me to enjoy and have fun! No pressure, no stress, no expectations of brilliance, just the desire to share our love of flamenco! 🙂 I was even bestowed a stage name in honor of the occasion; Lorita “la Farola.” I was truly touched and overcome by the love and support I was receiving from people I had never met. Yet another new seedling on my flamenco path was blossoming.
The venue was so intimate and authentic, especially after “Rodolfo” added his flamenco decor touch! It was a small stage, just like in Spain. This would be interesting. As I waited my turn to run through my number with the talented guitarist,”Miguelito,” I had the opportunity to watch the amazing Inesita do a little practicing. Wow, is all I can say. This petite woman of mature years stomped out the most unexpectedly complex and precise zapateado and moved with such confidence and fluidity. All of the dancers were impressive and skilled but Inesita just took my breath away!
Inesita is a returning guest artist with the group at Havana Club and has had a most inspiring journey through her flamenco dancing years. She was born in New York and started studying Flamenco dancing at age 14. She has been a force to be reckoned with ever since. Inesita has traveled all over the world appearing in solo concerts in a variety of venues. For the past six years, Inesita has produced her own flamenco company featuring other artists and talents.
The fact that we were a stones throw away from Hollywood was not lost on me when I found out Inesita has also danced her way into several motion pictures; “Tropical Masquerade” (1948),”Footlight Varieties” (1951), and “Here Come the Girls” (1953, starring Bob Hope). In 2016, a a short documentary was done about her by Tina Love, entitled, “Flamenco: The Enduring Art of Inesita.”
Needless to say, knowing I would be dancing alongside such an icon was a little daunting. But Inesita was so lovely and gracious and a joy to behold. I take my flamenco learning lessons from such experiences and I’m so happy I was able to be a part of the night!
My solo, a fandangos, in addition to my solo sevillanas copla and the group fin de fiesta por bulerias went well and I was happy with my performance. I felt confident, comfortable, and relaxed, ready to show my aire! I had so much fun! My teachers in Louisville prepared me well. 🙂
The cante and toque accompaniment were excellent and a big ‘thank you’ to them for being so willing to “work it out” with the “new kid.” An added surprise for everyone was my daughter, who also dances flamenco, being pulled up during the fin de fiesta, to show off her stuff, barefoot and in shorts to boot! She was full of sass and the crowd loved her!
I am continually grateful to meet and perform with such skilled artists through this exhilarating flamenco journey. They all definitely eased my nerves and made the whole experience so memorable and fun. It taught me a lot about the spirt of the flamenco community. Thank you for opening your flamenco home to me. Ole mi nuevo amigos de Los Angeles y muchas gracias!