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Flamenco Inesita

Inesita

The Magic of Flamenco (an inside view of this mysterious art)

A Final Shoot

On Friday, August 28, we  essentially did a ‘wrap-up”on  the Inesita Documentary which was begun on May 25 2019. It was an extremely complicated endeavor and exhausting in its details. The location chosen was El Arte Flamenco Dance Theater The Center for World Dance. Clarita, the dancer and singer conducts her classes, workshops, performances and private lessons under these auspices. Since Clarita and Inesita have worked together very often over the years, this space  was a logical place to work on the Documentary. During the session Inesita was interviewed for the second time to elaborate on her life work and varied career.

An interview was also conducted featuring Clarita herself and her career and  background.  Mario Colangelo  directed and filmed along with the cameraman, Camilo Godoy . Most of the shooting was involved capturing  moments from Inesita’s dances which have much scope and variety in the flamenco idiom. The physical activity itself was arduous and more taxing than a full concert evening. The accompanying images are a sample of the actual work and preparation in the filming. Also included are actual dance images and a photo of the participants in the shoot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Commentary on a You Tube Reply

In response to the writer of a recent reply addressed to Inesita on YouTube I wish to clarify some points that are brought up in his very flattering comment on my performance.

I did post an immediate reply thanking the writer for his praise of my work.

In setting the record straight I want to point out that film and video are  entirely different mediums than a live performance in a theater or concert hall or even a club or bar. The making of a dance in film is a process which includes much technology: recording, camera angles, and editing, etc.

I differed with the writer ( whom I am sure is sincere in this commentary) regarding a comparison with the actress, Arlene Dahl. She was a wonderful actress and did a very fine and competent job of her role. Of course she is not a dancer and certainly did not appear “clumsy” playing her part. I also want to point out that dancers are not athletes. The training required to achieve the necessary technique to perform Flamenco dance or any dance discipline is arduous requiring years of study and practice!

The rehearsal of the entire sequence I was involved in took five weeks of shooting, recording and other aspects of movie making. The dance I did was a Farruca, a genuine example of this male style. It contained about nine minutes of material from which Nick Castle, (the marvelous dance director who was responsible for the entire production) selected what he needed from me to fit in to a one minute and twenty-two seconds sequence. The original dance was almost nine minutes in length. I had performed this number many times and I was quite familiar with all the elements. The weeks of time spent on the set at Paramount Studios were concerned with the process of film making.

Also, the “pirouettes” I did were of course, Spanish “Vueltas”  or turns out of the vocabulary of Spanish dance.

The gorgeous costume was created by Edith Head, a famous film designer of that era. Amusingly enough this creation had to have on hand two copies of the trousers, three hats, and two pairs of shoes in order to insure that in case of damage there was back up!

All in all I do appreciate these unexpected and very wonderful compliments from the public who has seen the film. It is an honor I treasure. Thank Ypu!

The reply from the write mentioned above: He used the name Flautroy.

Inesita. Wow. You were fantastic. As a matter of fact, I think you stole that whole first act. You were so good that I stopped the movie and tried to look you up on Google, I saw that short YouTube clip of you doing the Flamenco It was fantastic, You were the best part of the first act of the Movie. Couldn’t believe how fantastic your were. Arlene Dahl looked positively clumsy in comparison to your talent, You are a marvelous athlete. Can you tell us how much you had to rehearse  to get that number down pat? People do not realize how difficult musicals can be and the amount of athleticism and talent that is required. because you make it look  so easy. The fitness level of you actors in musicals is just amazing. That is one of the finest musical numbers that I have ever seen. And the pirouettes. So perfectly executed  and balanced. I was  shocked at how good your were.  and your incredible timing. Your costume was excellent as well. What a fantastic performance!

 

Back in the Studio

One of the most typical dance figures in the flamenco vocabulary is the “stork” pose, “cigüeña“. Used by male dances in Farruca and Zapateado it has a distinctive character and feeling. I have used it myself when performing these dances in masculine costume and it adds a special import in my view to the Jondo repertoire.

The Soleá offers an expressive aspect ,although abstract, which presents sadness  without resignation — often a struggle against odds.

Two important Flamenco Forms

Two important flamenco forms are the Soleà and the Farruca. Both are performed by female dancers as well as men in the masculine style. The Ciqüeña or “stork” step is used often in the Farruca and the Zapateado evoking the equestrian aspect during the choreography. 

The Soleá expresses sadness without resignation or often a struggle against odds. The dance patterns are a battle against forces of  nature and the emotional content is conveyed by the tensions and kinetic energy..

The Soleá is a somber dance expression which offers a feeling of sadness but  not resignation, perhaps a struggle against odds.The dance becomes a battle between opposing forces.

 

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Ruminations on Flamenco

.Rumminations on Flamenco

That word which for so  many decades appears to stand for all dance expression of Spain has acquired a meaning apart from its true definition. The  name for the flamboyant art form is Cante Jondo or Deep song. Or more succinctly; profound.  Essentially flamenco is Andalusian.

As is generally known, the dance, song and music of this genre was born in Andalucia in the south of Spain. The special aspects that are admired world-wide are the tensions and energy of movement, the stark tonal contrasts of the song and grittiness of the instrumentation along with percussive counterpoint penetrating the basic beat. It excites the senses as no other form in the ethnic vocabulary. Many years ago, Antonio Triana, the great Spanish Flamenco dancer and father of Luisa Triana, told me ” Inesita, you are only performing dances of one province, Andalucia!”  in fact the material I knew at the time was basically arrangements of flamenco rhythms and melodies adapted to a written score.

Strangely, within Spain it is not always appreciated as widely in other parts of the world.

In recent posts and comments I have made on social media and on my own Website Flamenco-Inesita, I related two experiences about hearing serious disparaging remarks about the form and its practitioners which shocked me at the time. One was from a respected flamenco guitarist who accompanied me in Madrid at the opening of the Castellana Hilton in 1953 and another instance in the same year, of a prominent Spanish dance teacher in Spain whose references to flamenco and the people who perform as very low class!

 To place this subject in perspective, I must point out that in some ways it is understandable. Having been exposed to many different forms of Spanish Dance throughout my career, I know the wonderful examples of dances and songs of different provinces and have had the privilege of learning some of these pieces and in addition the pleasure of performing them.

Knowing people from other parts of Spain and their fierce pride and knowledge of the special material they offer has been an honor.

 In my view, I see a reason for the outstanding popularity of Flamenco. It is the only thing that sells! Of course. It’s exciting. Mesmerizing. And the stage wardrobe is so visually appealing.  Above all, its sensuality attracts the public.  No one could have been more enamored of Spanish Dance than I. From my early ‘teen’s” I felt a fascination so overwhelming that I wanted to devote my life to doing this and developing my skill and knowledge.  It was so special. There were many pitfalls along the way and it was never easy.

 In my early studies, with Michael Brigante, an Italian American dancer and teacher of classical Ballet who was versed in the basic vocabulary of the Iberian dance forms I was introduced to the Spanish dance.  In this I had my initial introduction to this dance expression. Apart from daily classes in traditional ballet, there were two classes a week in Spanish dance concentrating on castanet technique. We learned Pasodobles, Jota, Bolero in addition to theater or stylized pieces to written music of Spain’s composers. These last included choreographed arrangements to music of Albeniz, Granados, De Falla, and some other popular works. We even were given introduction to some of the Mexican folkloric material such as Jarabe Tapatio, and Chiapenicas,  augmenting the repertoire more widely. Not once did I hear the word Flamenco!

 After two and one half years, I left Brigante to continue exploration of the work with José Fernandez, a brilliant dancer and teacher and player of castanets. Later I attended classes with Carmelita Maracci, a great artist who had a marvelous ballet technique in addition to her own individual style in Spanish dance and expanded my horizons further into the art of dance.

Around this period, I finally heard the magic word FLAMENCO!

 Subsequently, I had an opportunity to learn some dance routines in a more theatrical style from friends who were professional performers.  These dances to written music gave me the necessary tools to enter the entertainment profession. In initial years I joined the various organizations such as Actor’s Equity, AGVA and SAG and other Organizations in order to work.  

 I was able to finally earn a living doing what I adored.

As it turned out in my case, it was about 10 years before I had the occasion to dance with guitar. And I began at the top! Circumstances led to my connecting with the well known, flamenco guitarist, Carlos Montoya. At the time the only dance I was versed in for guitar was the Farruca which I had learned to dance with piano or orchestra, Fortunately, the structure of the dance was fitted with the authentic compás of this style and my first foray as a flamenco dancer was a success. Two years later, I had another marvelous opportunity to work with Jeronimo Villarino, a Spaniard from Huelva in the south of Spain and this great flamenco guitarist and singer was an inspirational and encouraging force in the ongoing journey I was lucky enough to enjoy.

In the ensuing years I had more and more contact with other guitarists; some much younger and the result was an astonishing list of approximately fifty flamenco players who crossed my path in one way or another and added to my overall exposure.  Along with the musicians, I met and worked with flamencos singers in various situations and this presented another avenue for new insights into Jondo forms. These contacts occurred in Los Angeles, Mexico City, Madrid, Paris, London and New York City.

 In the subsequent years, as life went on, I had the opportunity to study in Spain with masters such as the legendary “El Estampio” ( Juan Sanchez) in addition to Regla Ortega, Antonio Marin and others such as the Pericets and Alberto Lorca, In this way, I expanded my vision of the dance, song, and guitar in all its richness of forms.

 Lastly, is a contact with an American, one Stamen Wetzel, who was a devoted student of Villarino for a period of seven years until the master’s death in 1972. Stamen sat at the feet of his revered teacher and mentor and absorbed all that Villarino taught him. By some twist of fate, I met Stamen in 1970.  This occurred, when his late wife attended a concert I did in that year.

Ever since we have been fellow artists and collaborators in flamenco art we so admire. In the interim, I also was accompanied by other flamenco players when different situations came in to play. Our artistic activities have endured over a half century!

 Even though as time passed and I became more and more knowledgeable in the structure of genuine Jondo dance, I remained faithful to the early love of regional dances with their outgoing, refreshing exhilarating character. It was always a relief, to change the atmosphere from the intense feeling and dramatic Cante Hondo and create another mood for an audience. As years passed and I had the opportunity to learn more and more of the dance forms of Aragon, Castile, Galicia and Valencia, I felt  enriched and gratified by these associations I was lucky to find. As someone with a musical background by my parentage and grandparents, I enjoyed the challenge of working with the intoxicating music of Spain’s classically trained musicians who depicted the essence of Spain’s genius for dance in their works. These pieces reflected the rhythmic elements of flamenco and the rich melodic content of song. The difference was in the presentation as theater or stylized rather than in its raw state. In a word, impressionistic.

 Apart from this experience, the Escuela Bolera School dance offers the serious performer another outlet in the elegant and studied technique of ballet. translated into the Spanish personality.

Above all I say there is more to Spain’s gift to the world.This is not to deny the popularity of Flamenco.

Due to my desire to know and understand other dances of the various regions of Spain, I developed an extensive repertoire which enabled me to perform as a soloist for many years. The idea of a “one women show” was a daring effort, but somehow I succeeded in establishing a respectable reputation and achieved sufficient recognition allowing a “career” in the dance world. However, nothing lasts forever, styles change: there are other points of view, and new artists come before the public with a fresh approach to the art and that is as it should be.

 Probably the reason I prevailed over time was an ability to alter my personality in each style of presentation. .

With the passing of years even the high energy I maintained for long periods had begun to wane and I made my first attempt into assembling a small company of artists who were my colleagues among guitarists, dancers, and singers. Together in our collaboration, we were able to present flamenco with high artistic purpose.

 There is a vast difference in presenting a program where I offer six or seven flamenco pieces instead of an evening of fifteen or more solos. The public changes and perceptions are altered. It is imperative to move with the times. And so I continue. Dance and music have always been the most important in my life and I cannot imagine a life without them!

 Looking backward and forward, I chose to spend my life exploring and learning; sometimes failing and often succeeding beyond my own expectation!

 This then, is my legacy. For those who have a different opinion, I respectfully allow a another slant on this fascinating art. I ask consideration of this perspective of a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Evening with Inesita March 14, 2020

A group of images taken backstage in Alhambra during the performance March 14th 2020 Presented by Clarita and Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre. Inesita in white Guayabera Jacket.

Video from first day of Shooting on Inesita Documentary

http:/https://Facebook/calix8/videos/1015https://www.facebook.com/calix8/videos/10157388026422459/7388026422459/On May 27, 2019, we began filming the Inesita Documentary. Five hours were spent that day on interviews and various matters related to my life work and career.

A brief video was filmed to make an official announcement of the project. So far 22 hours of footage has been made. Editing is in progress, but all activity is suspended due to the covid-19 crisis.

As the pandemic progresses, there is uncertainty, but there will be follow up.

 

 

Report

Inesita in her studio 2018

Report

The Performance under Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre

 On Saturday March 14th 2020, I appeared presented by Clarita under the auspices of Arte Flamenco Dance Theatre. The title was FLAMENCO NIGHT, An Evening with Inesita. I was supported by Clarita as flamenco singer and guitarists, Stamen Wetzel. Benjamin and Gabriel Osuna, The Arte  Flamenco Ensemble of dancers and Almae as dance soloist.

I performed five of my solos and participated in the Fin de Fiesta ending of the program.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak and a chilly rainy night, the attendance was understandably poor. However, the small audience of hardy souls who attended the event were rewarded, in my opinion, with a very interesting and complicated dance experience.

 Naturally, there were flaws throughout the evening as the stress of crisis was palpable in the atmosphere. But, we were as professionals accustomed to the vagaries of show business and took it in stride.      

Because of the risk of close contact we did not conduct any “meet and greet” after the show.

At the end of my last dance, the Martinete por Seguiriya, as I turned slowly playing castanets and wrapped the train of my  dress around my ankles in place, Clarita and Gabriel wailed the verses of the Martinete, the most tragic of flamenco forms. The insistent clanging of metal against metal in the “compas” of Seguiriya simulated with knives evoked a mood of hypnotic melancholy. This was so suitable to the present moment. The lights slowly dimmed and when I stopped a blackout. When the light came up again I held my pose and slowly lowered my upraised arm. At that moment the audience rose and stood applauding.  A lovely tribute!

 This makes all the work worthwhile. I was grateful for the opportunity.

 

 

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