Flamenco y familia

Last night was the first annual family reunion on my dad’s side. It was great seeing folks I hadn’t seen in years or others I had never even met. Four generations, from ages 3 to 85, gathered together to share good memories, eat good food and then get down on the dance floor. And get down we did. Today I can’t tell if I’m sore from flamenco class yesterday afternoon or all the cumbia dancing last night.

One thing I learned last night is that I have more fans than I thought. Thanks to Facebook, many of my extended-family members have become my virtual friends and they see my status updates and photo albums. So I heard, “Oh, I’m so proud of you!” or “Let me know when you are going to perform because I want to come see you!” quite a few times. It feels good to know that all these people care about me and think I’m doing something cool. I’m very lucky to come from such a supportive family.

Somewhere back many generations, there must have been some flamencos in the family. My grandfather was fascinated with Spain and dreamed of traveling there, but never made it. My dad also wants to visit Spain, and had never been exposed to flamenco until I got into it, but now he’s hooked. He often asks, “Mija, when are we going to another show?” He loves the music, and he used to play the drums so he’s convinced he’d be a great cajon player. And my aunt told me last night that she always dreamed of being a flamenco dancer. I had no idea.

And then there’s me. A girl who has always loved music and dance, but could never commit to one form until she began studying flamenco. And it’s not just the dance that moves me. Someday, I would like to to sing, too. I hear the cante and it’s like there’s a century-old wild gypsy inside me trying to tear her way out to wail a tune. Where do these feelings come from?! I don’t think it’s an accident I found this art form; I think my lineage somehow led me to it.


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