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Flamenco Stories.... here is mine...

On June 26, the School of Flamenco Dance Arts will be presenting their annual end of year presentation. Last year we sold out, so this year we are doing 2 performances in one day.

for advance tickets follow this link.

This blog entry will give you an idea of where the show title came from.

Everyone has a story. Each one so interesting, personal and endearing. Flamenco is about people and their lives and is immune to the division of geographical boundries.

As a dance teacher, I am invested in my students desire to achieve what they are searching for in flamenco. At the same time I am a student learning along side them, how their story informs their dance. I admit, sometimes I am overwhelmed by the responsibility of teaching them, guiding, supporting and being that driving force to get them to the next level, stage, part. We all need to see how the story begins, unfolds, develops and ends only for a new chapter to start.

You cannot teach each student the same way. Even in a group class. Students in flamenco come from all walks of life and they come for different reasons and have their own styles of learning. Again, I am a student along with them thinking about how I can teach the same content in as many ways as I can. I know first hand of what it's like to not "get it" and how come everyone else understands or can do it and I can't. :(

My own flamenco story, is very long....really long and has many chapters. Here is a personal chapter.

It started at home. We immigrated to Canada from Hannover, Germany in 1971. My father was from Alcadete, Jaen and my mother from Hannover, Germany. My older brother, Mario and I were born in Hannover, Germany.

My parents love flamenco. The music always played at full volume. I listened to all the great artists of that time, Paco Pena's Flamenco nights album, Paco de Lucia, Camaron de la Isla, Lole y Manuel and so on. I also listened to Lucera Tena playing her unbelievable castanet concerts with world Orchestras. I would lay on the floor with my parents Hi Fidelity Head phones and listened to the music at full blast because I imagined myself dancing to the music and conducting the orchestras. I still remember the goose bumps I would get. I danced in my head, my living room, the park. Anywhere, really. The feeling of strength and pride where powerful and sometimes I cried because the music made me feel profound sadness, Cante Jondo. My family life, was not easy, in fact, quite difficult. Flamenco, is my therapy, my support, catharsis and eternal guide through this life.

The power of imagination and visualization are my learning strengths. Too bad, they didn't figure that out for me in school. I was put into learning disabled classes until they figured out, I was not learning disabled, rather, I just didn't understand English. However, by the time I hit grade 11, the psychological damage was done. I felt inadequate, stupid and unsure of how I was going to manage in life. I was failing 5 out of 7 courses. My jock boyfriend (Nick Ekonomides) who was on the honour roll, said " Carm, you don't sound stupid. You have profound thoughts." Go figure, he was the guidance that I needed to set me straight. So I applied what I knew I was good at, Rhythm and images for repetition and memory. By grade 13, I nearly made it on the honour roll and went on to complete my B.A Psychology at York University in 3.5 years, while commuting, working two part time jobs and dancing was my third job. All the while my parents were going through a nasty, traumatizing divorce. Somehow my brother and I turned out OK.

This is my flamenco story. It's not about who taught me, that I will leave for another post. It's about the life experiences and how flamenco is my way of understanding the world around me and continues to guide me. It is very much a philosophy that I practice.

On June 26, you will see young flamenco dancers discovering flamenco and using the intricate language of flamenco. Solos of dancers who have never gone alone. A mother/daughter tribute called "In her image." Advance dancers and singers will present an intimate Cuadro performance. They all have flamenco stories. Come out and see them, support them, celebrate them... because we all have a story.

Please do share your flamenco stories here on this blog. I like hearing about stories. You do not need to be a student of mine. The door and page is open.

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