I have never been more proud to be living in Spain until this moment. On March 8th (International woman’s day) I had the opportunity to see the unbelievable Sara Baras dance Flamenco at the Nuevo Apolo Theater. We stood outside the polished theater, show lights sparkling, wondering what awaited us inside. We sat in red velvet seats surrounded by native Spanish flamenco lovers; our American ignorance was all over us. The lights dimmed and a single spot light appeared on the stage showing the one and only Sara Baras in a beautiful dress, she started off very slowly, taping her feet and swinging her dress. But as the energy and anticipation grew, she got faster and faster and as the music grew stronger our faces brightened. The crowd was silent, except for the occasional Olay, but rightfully so, the performance was breathtaking.
She danced many different types of Flamenco, some with big dresses that she spun around, made shorter or longer and used as if it was part of her. She danced tango with a man, Jose Serrano, that depicted love and hate all at the same time. But what was most interesting to me was the dynamic between the dancers and musicians. They cheered each other on during their individual performances and when Baras did an interpretation (making her dance up on the spot) the musicians were right on cue with what she was going to do next, making sure the music and feet matched. The dancers used the different types of Flamenco in a special way that allows for them to show their own identity and interpretation but also keeping the traditions from generations past. That is one of the most important things about the dance, remembrance. During each dance style change, a recording was played from different famous flamenco dancers expressing their feelings about flamenco and why it is so special.The dance originated from gypsies living in Spain (also has roots from the middle east) to express the oppression they felt at the time. Throughout the dance, you can see the mix between the feelings of romance and desperation to freedom and suffering. The emotions embedded in the dance are what make it so powerful.
Dare I call myself Spanish for living in Spain for 3 months… no. But the feeling I had walking out that theater was nothing less than Spanish patriotism… Olay!