Flamenco is a succinct and poignant self-expression, which is then an expression of all things human, from time-was to time-will-be. It is an invigorating, humbling, and fascinating exploration of new territory.
Flamenco, like everything else in life, requires co-operation and collaboration. At any given moment onstage, each flamenco performer—singer, guitarist, or dancer—is hoping to be visited and inspired by the illusive and revered “duende,” the essence and core of the flamenco spirit as defined by Frederico García Lorca. Nonetheless, each performer must respect, support, and live the others’ moments. This is true collaboration. This is true flamenco.
True collaboration is a rare event in life. In flamenco, truth be told, our best collaborations happen most frequently in rehearsal. We improvise, we mess up, we laugh long and loudly, and we are our most brilliant in that warm creative envelope that’s filled with our love for flamenco and for each other. Onstage, our envelope is opened by the audience. The purely human desire to be adored by that audience can easily fracture the group synergy.
When this happens, we all know it, though our audience may not. What do we do? We take that ball and run together, hoping that the magic will reappear, buoying us up and making us one collaborative being again.
I have learned to love the true collaboration that is flamenco. There are amazing moments onstage, when the group impulse suddenly transcends the sum of its parts and becomes an expression of such breathtaking beauty that all present are both stunned and invigorated. Though the amazing moments are few and far between, my thirst for them is unquenchable. It keeps me passionately and deeply involved in the seemingly narrow, but truly limitless, world of flamenco.