The Artist’s Burden
The fulfillment and satisfaction that results from an innate ability or talent in a particular skill is a special joy. Whether dance, music, singing or acting, the demands continue without rest. Unlike a finished painting, a work of art, a novel or literary material; once completed, the performer is never done.
The musician cannot stay away from his instrument for long. Practice must continue or all or parts of the work are lost.
Memory can be relied upon to a certain extent, but if put aside without attention to detail. It deteriorates. Apart from music or content, technique itself can only be kept in top form by daily practice. ” Keeping the tools bright” is a good rule to follow. If the dancer sits down, there is no dance.
I have accumulated about fifty different Spanish dances over the course of my long career. These include flamenco styles (done with guitar) theater of stylized works based on Spanish forms, Regional pieces and lastly dances of the 18th Century ( Escuela Bolera).
Most are my own creations are based of course on genuine material. Others are the works of the masters I studied under.
In addition, I also learned flamenco songs: (cantes) which I did sing in performances on occasion. In order to retain the technique and details of all this requires constant review or else it is lost.
As a classically trained pianist and harpsichordist I also possess a large repertoire in 19th century works and also early music as well. This amounts to a great volume of written music which must be retained by muscle memory. If put aside for too long, it can evaporate.
I have had the frustrating experience of forgetting passages of music, or words to a song as well as dance patterns that elude me unless repeated from time to time.
This, then, is the artist’s burden. There is no sitting back and resting on one’s laurels!
With this confession, I wonder if other performers suffer the same dilemma.
July 6, 2019 was the occasion of continued filming for the Feature length documentary being prepared about Inesita’s career and life.The performance featuring other flamenco artists along Inesita as special guest artist was a lively evening of varied dances and songs of genuine flamenco.The cameras led by Calix Renearu recorded the evenings program given to an enthusiastic audience.
Inesita will make an appearance as special guest artist at the Havana Bar and Restaurant on July 6, 2019.
This will be her ninth engagement at the popular flamenco tablao in Los Angeles.
We had our second shoot yesterday in my studio and it was a long six hour day of set up/ narrative, demonstration and actual dancing ( in rehearsal clothes and without music) The subject covered the structure and form of flamenco such as I presented over the years at colleges and universities in Los Angeles, New York and England. So it is a serious endeavor. Because of the scope of this project it will be many months before it is released as a film. We will resume shooting in late August. Claudia the producer is leaving on a celebrity tour and will return in late summer. Eventually I understand it will be marketed to entities such as Netflix and AMC. Inesita with Claudia Wells, Calix Reneau and the Cameraman, Mario. during shoot.
Again, we say to all lovers of dance and the special form of Flamenco. What is it that draws one to this art? The dances are lively and full of spiritedly tempo, but most often the songs are sad and speak of loss, regret, and the darker side of life. This creates an ambiguity which is present in all forms of art. The tensions pull in different directions in the off beating and crossing rhythms and mournful strains of the cante reflecting what is universal. In reality, the dance is not a choreography, but a series of fragments arranged together and linked with phrases to open and close each variation. This is unique which makes it possible to extend or reduce the dance. Because flamenco is unwritten, this creates the impression of being open-ended as in a endless chain of rhythm.
This performance was a celebration of the first Flamenco Alhambra which made its debut in March of 2009. It is also the anniversary of my first appearance under the auspices of this series under the direction of William Yee.
Formerly, the title of the organization had been the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts. This was later changed to Alhambra Performing Arts Center which was more appropriate. Mr. Yee decided to present these performances each year and in some instances twice a year. It made the first program in March of 2009 a special event and was received by the public with much enthusiasm. It has been a labor of love devoted to the dance art of Spain, moreover to the Andalusian form, Flamenco. Come and enjoy the variety and scope of this art which is like no other! Beauty and feelings expressed in the tensions and spontaneity of the music and movement, profundity and dynamism which it offers. Ole!
INESITA will return to the stage of Sage Granada Park Methodist Church on Saturday, May 25th, 2019. Curtain 7 P.M.
The program celebrates the 10 Year Anniversary of Inesita’s first performance with Alhambra Performing Arts Center under the Artistic Direction of William Yee.
The evening will feature INESITA in six solos of her own and she will accompany on piano in a musical interlude.
Also featured are Miguel Bernal, Clarita and Ahmae, and the Arte Flamenco Ensemble with the solid support of Stamen Wetzel and Benjamin, guitarists. Enjoy the power and variety in this dance art which is like no other. Earthy and elegant, dynamic and profound, Flamenco speaks to all human experience. Join us for this distinctive performance.
I often hear people say they are “passionate” about their work. Passion can have many connotations: intense feeling, such as love, anger, or strong emotions of all sorts. If it refers to an art and an ardent devotion to something in life which consumes the individual, then I can think of better words to describe it. If this seems too pedantic, I respectively present my thinking about the subject.
In the case of art of various disciplines, i offer a point of view. Whether one is a writer, musician, dancer, painter, actor or involved in any branch of discipline, the concentration and determination towards achieving the goal of excellence requires some degree of sacrifice. Time and energy both mental and physical must be applied. The “minute particulars” as William Blake put it. Art is not “self expression” or a wild state of being, but focus and attention to detail.
For my part, I would substitute the word power or that feeling of mastery that comes with a difficult task realized, and the sensation of control over the work. This is the way to perfection if it is ever reached. It might be a lofty goal, but I believe that diligent study is the path to greatness. Possibly, it remains out of reach for most of us. However, it is the journey that matters.