Summation of a long career.
Having been a performer since age fifteen in Spanish dance and flamenco, I offer another viewpoint on this esoteric and arcane art.
I was always presented as a soloist from day one. Unless I was engaged as part of a show or concert; or film, television, or some performance featuring other artists, I danced alone as a one woman show.
Only rarely did I become a dance partner, but this was never part of my experience as a whole. The essence of the Spanish dance and particular case of Flamenco demands a soloist to express the music and dynamics in the work.
Except in the special case of couple dances, the import which it conveys comes over as an individual entity.
As I have written in great detail of my beginnings, I entered the professional as a solo artist albeit not yet seasoned, but with considerable potential.
Entering the profession as a very young person I was fortunate enough to attract much attention due to my youth and appearance and ability. One thing led to another and I was engaged soon in a Civic Light Opera which led to a showcase in a night club. This afforded me visibility to many professionals and opened doors to the film industry and other venues where I could perform to advantage.
In this era, Spanish dance and particularly flamenco was an exotic specialty mostly misunderstood by the public but admired for its flamboyance and excitement. For this reason, I was able to succeed quickly and opportunities poured in. There were so many varied situations in which I could sell my talents.
It is notable that I received so much attention at this time. I had little competition.
Over time and much study, and experience and exposure I developed my own style. However everything evolves and nothing stays the same but moves inexorably on to new ideas. New artists in flamenco arrived on the horizon and influenced one another and allowed more to germinate and grow.
I did not stay in the same mind set but took on new challenges of presentation to avoid stagnation. Because flamenco is unwritten and becomes flexible and open to revision, the enormous evolution of the form was inevitable. I made innovations of my own to encompass other approaches in my Themes from Goya suite which was presented nine times and then moved on to concentrate on making dances to the Sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti which enhanced my repertoire. These new versions of the same elements in the music were not always as popular or commercial enough to succeed and prosper as the more popular presentations did, but I believe it is wiser to try other methods than mark time. Even taking on the task of doing lecture-performances expanded the vision to those who would listen! And then I returned to concentrate on pure flamenco! By analyzing the form and structure it was possible to offer more insight into the music, and methods of this art. Flamenco is made up of fragments pieced together and can be altered and rearranged.
In today’s world where footage of shows can be quickly transferred to the Web, the visual becomes an interpretation which can grab attention in a way that a live performance may not.
Video and film is actually another medium and the impact is distinct from a live performance in a theater or tablao setting. The perception changes. Having had footage of film or video within the past sixty years or thereabouts showing my work the progression of altered structure becomes very obvious.
It is said that “one picture is worth a thousand words “and so I have included much of what has been recorded over this period. It is almost tragic that so much of the great dancing of the distant past has been lost due to lack of the technology. In short, this has been a boon; or perhaps there is a downside as well. Nevertheless, there is still nothing like a live performance and its immediacy to the spectator.
So I leave these musings with the public and let them decide.
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