Wednesday, 9 October 2013

I've got the moves like Amaya. Well, nearly...

Amazing how much we can achieve in a small space of time.

Three weeks ago, I had arrived in Barcelona and was nervously awaiting my first ever flamenco lesson with Toni Moniz at Escuela de Baile Flamenco Jose de la Vega.

Did I think that 3 weeks later I would be nervously preparing to film the choreography that Toni had come up with to adapt to the flamenco style of Carmen Amaya? Well, yes and no. Did I think I would be further on in my progress? Maybe...

I don't think I really knew what to expect, just that I was passionate about the subject matter of gender roles and I obviously knew I had to have an outcome for this project, but I never anticipated the adventure in learning that I've had.

I anticipated that it would be full of ups and downs and laughter (mostly Toni laughing at my inability to keep in time to the music or having two left feet!), but its been such an amazing journey, which isn't over yet, of course. I'm so proud of myself for developing the strength to even try this at my age.

Flamenco is a hard dance to master, and I certainly don't think I've mastered it in 3 weeks. Could anyone?

What I know is that this is my homage to Amaya, who had so much self-belief, grit and displayed such sheer strength, happiness and joy in performing her art.

But, as I mentioned, the journey isn't over. I'm still not feeling 100% string enough in terms of 'force', stature and grounded steps during the choreography practice sessions, so there is a huge amount of work to be done between now and Monday afternoon.

Things took a turn for the better today in terms of practicing to music. The original plan, where music was concerned, was that the original music I had from the first ever Amaya dance I saw, the one we're adapting, was just too fast and complex for me to follow. So Toni and I had agreed that we would get someone to record a slower version of something for me to dance to. But I couldn't really justify the money I might need to record a slower version, so we just decided we would go for the original music and use that as our foundation for the choreography, which made me very happy indeed.

This rhythm is so complex that even Toni found it difficult to follow, but was brilliant in timing whatever steps we had done, so that they fitted together with the music.

This music in the first half, you see, changes in speed a lot, which was good actually when it came to some of the stamps that I struggle with - as they can now be done a lot slower.

We tried the moves to the music, and yep, its fast. But I am so determined to do this, and I'm not giving in until its done, really.

Even though its only really been a rough practice to the music today, I felt great satisfaction in what I'd achieved this week.

OK, my technique on a lot of the moves and steps needs a lot of work, but Carmen's spirit is there. It just needs to be there more. I'm not trying to be her, but trying to understand what she was trying to get across, so I need to toughen up more, but still be a woman.

Its great though how this process is bringing out more confidence and strength in my femininity and how much untapped potential we all do have, male or female.

Good news also in that the camera operator is also sorted for the shoot now too. Just a recce to do tomorrow. I want this to be a tribute to Amaya in a contemporary way, so we'll see what the recce of the location gives us to work with. Then its just 'wardrobe' research / buying etc which is good.


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