The magic of custom-made flamenco clothes


I was so excited to go shopping in Spain! I would finally be amongst my fellow kindred spirts- the curvy and mature flamenca! The mentors I had seen in videos and met in person, yes…many were built like me and they had gorgeous costumes. My empty suitcase was waiting to be filled! Imagine my disappointment when I found very little off-the-rack plus sizes.  The good news is there are dress-makers abound!

If you are lucky enough to find a very talented flamenco fashion creator, like I have found in Alicia Harris, with Flamenco Closet Creations (, than you will have no worries. Alicia has been making pieces and parts of my flamenco ensembles for a few years now. Her work is fantastic!

My latest piece, however, was an exciting partnership and took me to another level of individuality in flamenco; designing a dress myself!

I knew the style I wanted, the colors and what I wanted it to look like when I was dancing. Alicia said, draw me a picture and I will make it! And just like that, it happened! She brought my ideas to beautiful life!

When Alicia sent me the first few pictures from her studio mannequin, I was in awe how she was able to create an exact replica of my drawing, just so much more gorgeous! The colors were vibrant, the fabric was flowy, it was just perfect. She even surprised me with adding a shawl in the same pattern as the godets and ruffles. Wow!

The feeling of contributing to the creation of something so beautiful and original left me speechless. The feeling of pride and satisfaction made dancing in it so special.

Many flamenco shops offer custom-made flamenco apparel, so get creative and be unique! Those of us who cannot sew thank you for your magic!




When I stumble and fall…

4827700_Flamenco_dancer_on_the_ground_SMy flamenco journey travels in company with the elements of my life that fuel it. Most of the time, the journey is a harmonious retreat. Sometimes the path is an over-grown and unchartered trail.

I often write about my triumphant, satisfying and humorous moments because my flamenco dancing is intrinsically tied to them. It is natural, and expected, for those moments to reach your dance.

What I am struggling with now is a new feeling for me, the bigger picture. Am I where I should be? Am I doing what I should be doing? Am I a part of anything bigger? Do I make people happy? Am I happy? Why am I so off-balance? I am not sure how to express these except to allow the raw purity of it to escape my pen and body in an equally raw form.

Someone recently told me I was like a tractor, always pushing through with the resilience of a piece of heavy machinery. While I take that as a compliment, it also gives me pause. Most times, it is true, I plow face-first into life’s obstacles, determined to get through the massive field that stretches for what seems miles in the distance. But, sometimes, the tractor needs fuel, sometimes, the tractor needs repair, sometimes, the tractor must take a rest.

So, how does this parlay into my flamenco dancing? How do I make this stumble a part of my dance? The obvious answer is to bring all my emotions with me on the dance floor and give strength to what I emit. That has been challenging. I had another person say to me a few days ago they think I have finally found my flamenco style, that stressful situations can bring creativity. I hope that is true. I don’t know what else to do with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have many wonderful things in my life and feel blessed in many ways. But…the tractor is tired of always being the tractor.

I will find a way. I always do. I don’t know how to quit. In staying true to the personal “diary” intent of my blog, however, I must also document when vulnerability positions itself at my feet. I will stomp it out, one way or another.


Painting by: Miki de Goodaboom, 2010

Give your passion life!


In a reflective moment of considering how blessed I am to have such soul-enriching passions in my life, it occurs to me that two of those; writing and flamenco, have many attributes in common and feed into one another much more than I had ever contemplated before. I am beyond happy to have found a way to combine the two.

It goes without saying that creativity is at the core of both writing and flamenco dancing. In writing, you must find your voice through your writing style and in flamenco dancing, you must find your voice through the self-expression that embodies the art form. Both allow room for individuality. The sky is the limit! You can express yourself in endless ways in what you write about, how you write and for whom you write. Likewise, the unique emotion that belongs only to you can be conveyed in a myriad of ways on the dance floor.

Claim your power and be unapologetic in the ability to express yourself; embrace your passion. For me, writing has always been a vehicle for venting my feelings and emotions in a way I could not do in any other form. I vividly recall going to the park as a teenager, sitting in the stillness that surrounded me and writing for hours at a time. I gave myself permission to be open and those thoughts jumped onto the pages in front of me with a natural ease. I wrote poems, mostly, and as I got older, my passion evolved into short stories. I also kept a journal and still do to this day. Now that I have found flamenco, I am realizing another level of claiming my feelings, symbolic for this different time in my life. Flamenco dancing allows me the same avenue of venting and creating a tangible product of what is inside of me that writing does.

While both writing and flamenco dancing are means to express yourself, they both still hold the necessity for skill in order to successfully emit your expression. This is not to say you have to be an expert in either form for successful transmission. On the contrary, everyone holds different capabilities and as long as you are honestly open, there is no right or wrong way. What is important to both writing and flamenco dancing, however, is a fundamental skill-set in order to help you generate your self-expression. In writing, having a good command of the language, grammar and basic rules of writing is important in communicating your message. In flamenco dancing, knowing the fundamentals of the movements, footwork, compás and music are vital to being able to transmit yourself fully within the dance.

As any writer or flamenco dancer will testify, both art forms require a progressive stream of nurturing. I am always working on honing my skills in both genres. I read, I watch, I absorb, I practice, I draft and re-draft, I read a-loud, I edit, I rethink and I question. These are consistent elements for me in order to progress or, at the very least, feel more confidant in my craft. I make mistakes and always will but those are also opportunities for growth. Writing and flamenco dancing offer the constant tools to encourage doing greater things with them.

Whatever your passion, do it with creativity, embrace it wholeheartedly, gain the necessary skills to be content with your craft and nurture your passion to encourage greater satisfaction. Give your passion life! You won’t be sorry you did.  🙂



20 life lessons flamenco dancing has taught me

pl-87flamencolr_jpgNo one is more surprised than me to think of all the things flamenco dancing has taught me; life lessons…qualities and characteristics that transcend the art form and become a way of life. As I sat one morning with a cup of java, I started making a list. Here are 20 life lessons that flamenco dancing has taught (or re-instilled) in me. Accepting and acknowledging these facets of my growth has made following my passion so much more rewarding!

  1. AGE is irrelevant –  flamenco dancing is for all ages.
  2. BODY style is unimportant – flamenco dancing is for all bodies.
  3. Take RISKS – try something new, branch out, explore options, you  may surprise yourself.
  4. Get out of your HEAD – don’t let that destructive inner voice get the better of you. Easier said than done, I know.
  5. Set the bar HIGH for yourself – only YOU can outdo YOU.
  6. Have PATIENCE – flamenco is a multi-layered and long learning process, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
  7. PRACTICE – if you want to get better and progress, practice!! Simple as that. You get what you put in.
  8. Just TRY – You don’t know unless you try, right? In my book, the only failure is when you don’t try.
  9. Be PREPARED – always show up ready to deliver your A game. You owe that to yourself and others.
  10. Work WELL with others –  be considerate of one another’s investment, hard work and desire to be a part of this amazing art form.
  11. Be SUPPORTIVE – it’s crucial to be there for each other, offer encouragement and help when needed.
  12. Remember, you have a STORY to tell – your dancing is yours alone, your story, your expression, your feelings…never forget that. It will be unique and individual.
  13. Take CARE of yourself – you have to take care of your mind and body in order to go the distance and dance for many years to come.
  14. Get IN TOUCH with your body, its rhythm, its core – know your self, your movements, what works, what doesn’t, and what feels good. Then do it in compás! 🙂
  15. Have CONFIDENCE – dance for yourself and no one else and do so with conviction. I have struggled with this one the most but cannot stress enough the importance of believing in yourself.
  16. Share KNOWLEDGE – there is always someone ahead of and behind you on the path so share what you know.
  17. Be willing to get in touch with your EMOTIONS – let it go, let it all out! THAT is the heart of flamenco! Feel the dance inside you.
  18. LISTEN, OBSERVE, ABSORB – you will never stop learning, you will always be a student. Period. Take it all in.
  19. MISTAKES are ok – they are opportunities to learn and grow. No one is perfect. The most seasoned dancers make mistakes.
  20. Have FUN and enjoy the ride with your fellow flamencos!


A hidden escape in Sevilla


I was in awe on many occasions of the rich history and tranquility of Sevilla. My visit to the ancient baths was no exception. I had this on my list of “things to do” while visiting the city last year with my flamenco group, but the trip was nearly over by the time a few of us scrambled to make an online reservation.

First, a little history to put the ambiance in perspective. Aire de Sevilla is housed in a 16th century casa palacio, restored 15 years ago by a wealthy viceroy to the Indies. The mansion is built on the foundation of a Roman ruin from the first century AD. Public baths were a customary Arabic tradition inherited from the Byzantine and Romans and were used for hygiene and socializing. With the Christian reconquista, most baths were destroyed, however, the custom remained in Andalucia.

MY EXPERIENCE:                                                                                                                       Down a narrow alley in Sevilla’s Barrio Santa Cruz, behind the walls of an unassuming sign, lies a place that transports you back in time.  Walking in the door to the scent of 20170330_175120orange blossom and spice, being served aromatic Arab tea and escorted into a candlelit grotto of connecting rooms, I knew the next 1 1/2 hours was going to be the perfect relaxation I needed at the end of a busy and physically demanding week.


The setting was breathtaking. The various thermal baths and salt pool were surrounded by ancient Roman vaults, mudejar carved ceilings and dark walls lined with small candles and lanterns.


Once we donned our swimsuits, we set about on our route through the thermal springs. We stepped first into a warm water bath and I soon wondered why I needed to move at all. The dimly lit room with the prominent silencio sign was all I needed to close my eyes and relax. But there was more. The hot and cold baths were surprisingly invigorating. A few minutes in the hot water followed by a dip in the ice cold pool made my skin tingle and feel alive. Our next stop was the Thousand Jet Stream room, a hydrotherapy pool filled with pockets of carved-out concrete perfectly sized for sitting in while the jets pulsated against your neck, back and legs. I dare say we lingered here the longest. The jets just felt so good massaging our sore bodies. When we finally decided to continue on, we made our way to the steam bath or Hammam.


It was super relaxing and I was beginning to feel the contrast of all the treatments thus far. The final stop on the thermal bath tour was the underground salt pool. It was encased by an ancient style brick wall and you really felt you were below the earths surface with the temperature of the room and faint lighting. Floating through the salted water brought me to a state of mental and physical bliss.



To round out the spa-like adventure, we indulged in a 15 minute massage of our back, legs, arms, feet and head. Ok, now THIS was heaven! I am not a massage connoisseur but this ranks up there as the best I’ve ever had. For only 15 minutes, it was thorough and not at all rushed as we lay in a separate massage room that held the same ancient tranquility as the other rooms.


The icing on the cake? This 90 minute session was only 54 euros! (There are numerous packages available for different price ranges).  I am so glad we did not miss this opportunity. The therapeutic and respiratory health benefits are reason enough to visit this hidden escape in Sevilla. The staff was courteous, the experience was calming and luxurious and they thought of everything with the amenities – after your session, you’ll find a fully stocked bathroom with all the items needed to shower and dress for your next unique adventure in Sevilla.  Next time, I will enjoy the rooftop infinity pool and wine bath!

(photos courtesy of Aire de Sevilla




Welcome to Fleur de Flamenco

I am a blossoming flamenca. I am learning and growing and unfolding; opening my soul to flamenco. And Louisville, Kentucky is where I found and am nurturing this art. I am a student/dancer/performer with the best flamenco studio in town- Flamenco Louisville!

I invite you to walk with me through my flamenco experience. This blog is dedicated to chronicling my journey from a total newbie three years ago through my continued progress forward.

So, here I am, on a new adventure of writing about my flamenco life. I hope you enjoy the ride with me! Olé! Vamos!


My flamenco pilgrimage


It has taken me a little over five months of being home from Spain for it all to settle in…and there has been much to absorb. There was a magic about being in Spain all its own, but learning flamenco there was just perfect.

Going to Sevilla changed me as a flamenco dancer. I feel renewed, energized and awake. Seeing all the professionals and their immense natural talent gave me such inspiration and appreciation for the art form. The large decorative theaters and elaborate stage productions on top of the mind-blowing dancing left me in awe. It was very educational to see flamenco translated in this way.

Witnessing up close and personal the tablao shows was amazing and the aire they flung off the stage was contagious. Being able to get a birds-eye view of the attitude and passion was an invaluable experience. I mean, you can’t walk away from a performance where the sweat from the male dancers hair slings you in the face without some level of exhilaration!

My trip to Spain also changed me, and probably more deeply, on a personal level. Taking classes from a renowned artist enabled me to be surrounded by students who came from around the world on their quest for more flamenco skill and knowledge. I researched and chose my teacher carefully, based on who I felt I could get the most from. And she did not disappoint; Mercedes Ruiz was not just a technique-rich dancer, but a dancer with concaved, pinched, and bent body while still holding beautiful lines. More puro form, in my opinion, and that’s what I was looking for.

Most importantly, I gained confidence. I firmly believe it is a confidence I could not have acquired anywhere else. I was initially a bit worried how I would manage taking classes every single day on top of a busy schedule outside of class. I was very happy with myself that I hung in there, tested my stamina by showing up every day and picking up most of the fast-paced instruction. Looking back, I am still surprised at my level of activity; walking for hours, shopping, sightseeing, going to shows, staying up late into the night and still having enough steam in me to go to a very rigorous class the next morning.

That confidence followed me back home, too. I felt different walking into the studio after that. I stood a little taller. I held my chin up a little higher. I knew my body a little better. I just felt like I finally believed I was good enough.

Beyond that, I am more appreciative of the culture and traditions. I have become more aware of a people who are so happy to share the art of flamenco with those of us who cannot possibly truly feel the manifestation of it’s origins.

The new meaning of flamenco for me now is so much more real and deep. I have been to the epicenter of flamenco and I have witnessed the masters. I have walked the streets, eaten the food, enjoyed my flamenco community, learned from one of the best and surpassed the personal goals I set for myself. I feel empowered.

Flamenco has taken a sure space in my soul now, more than ever before. I feel it in my bones. And I want my dancing to display the soulful expression of my journey.

New flamenco goals.

(photo found on