Flamenco and the Depths

Because I have cool, generous friends whose parents are also cool and generous (a huge thank you to the Hanchers especially Kyle T), I had the pleasure of seeing the traditional Spanish spectacle of Flamenco this past week as well as the opportunity to enjoy way too many delicious tapas. Perhaps, only one thing to say (followed by many more): I can see why people write novels about Spain. There is something in its "manner and way of walking" that is wholly unique and original and raw. This traditional type of dance and song and guitar playing makes you feel. And the feelings felt are the sort of feelings one feels when they are actually doing something (like yelling at someone or kissing a baby) rather than sitting in a comfortable chair in a darkened room (goose bumps and shivers and all of that jazz). The guitar playing was beautiful and complex (and the expression of the guitarist's face a little humorous). The ending sounded like someone running up a flight of stars to meet someone that they missed dearly but loved very much, dancing with them in their tower room, skirts aswirl, and then knocking down walls and clashing swords until they finally broke free of the castle walls in the last breath of notes (very Quijote) which ended abruptly and poignantly with a flourish of the instrument itself. The female dancer was incredible. She reminded me of a matador with her shawl and the way she whipped it around as if simultaneously fending off foes and summoning lovers. Her movements were fierce and precise like a soldier's. She encompassed feminine power in her rapid steps, her whirling glances, her erect cheek bones. She held her dress like a bouquet and her body like a cello--straight and lean and with a sturdy base from which all her deep movements flowed. The male dancer looked a little like Justin Timberlake (I half expected him to dance to Suit and Tie), and his movements were softer and slower. His hands, holding castanets, moved delicately, and the grace and fragility of his body reminded me of the soft stroking gestures of ballet.

In Spanish, the word for deep is "profundo," which I find slightly magical and fascinating. In Spanish, something isn't just deep as in "that canyon is very deep, possibly even 200 km so" but it's profound, causing us to think and wonder and interrogate: "that canyon is so deep and mysterious and possibly holds all of life's secrets or at least 200 km or so of them" (I just randomly picked 200km so pay no heed to that). This past weekend, we went to Ronda. At first, we were all like, "What's in Ronda?" "Why are we going to Ronda?" (ahemKyleahem) but then we got there, and after walking a little ways, we all realized: Ronda is deep--sliced down the middle by a gash of a gorge that circles its old town and bleeds through to the mountains on the other side. It is a common space for a mixing of cultures and times (ancient Arabic baths and Roman buildings and the second biggest Plaza de los Toros in the world) as well as the point of convergence for plains covered in soft, roaming sheep and mountains, rising sharp and ever-durable on the horizon. It's a town that inspires a feeling of depth in those who visit--a feeling of some sort of limitless existence that seems just over those mountains, a thing bright and just-almost-tangible like sunlight, that comes in swooping whispered reminders in the form of cold, wakeful breezes. In addition to stirring my soul, Ronda also had a delicious bakery called Daver where it took me a good twenty minutes just to decide what I wanted (I was the first one to walk in but the last to sit down). The journey for more adventures (and many more baked goods) continues. CJB


Caroline BrownComment