Monday, February 7, 2011

Small World Isn't it..........

A few days ago I read the blog of a long time friend of mine, Juan Talavera, cleverly entitled Juan's Blog.  Juan often does recaps of his busy schedule just to let everyone know where he's been, what he's up to, and his upcoming auditions.

Juan is a Flamenco dancer in the true sense of the word(s).  He started dancing at a very early age and unlike some of us, never stopped.  I dare not say his age without his permission but I will say, he's a tad bit older than I, and I'm 55.  Sorry Juan.

When I started dancing Flamenco many, many years ago, Juan was one of the people I took classes from.  He lived nearby so we frequently drove together to classes and shows.  I would say we became friends, not the kind of friend that is inseperable; not at all, but we did spend a decent amount of time together.  I admired his talent then and still do today.

So back to Juan's blog.  For some reason, in his last blog he talked about one of his early teachers "Corina Valdez".  I don't recall him ever sharing that bit of information with me before or I'd have done what I did while reading his blog; I dropped my jaw in surprise.   Corina was my first teacher too.  Big surprise. 

Through one of Corina's shows I was first introduced to Flamenco.  I still recall Arlene (a non-related cousin type) dancing a Spanish number in what's called a bata de cola.  The video below isn't Arlene but it'll give you an idea of what the bata de cola looks like.

For many, many years I wondered if the day would ever come when I'd have a chance to learn Flamenco.

After reading that Juan studied with Corina I left a comment that I too had studied with her and gave a little background of how Cornia and I are non-related.  Her sister was married to my mom's uncle.  In the Mexican culture, that means she's a non-relative treated as a relative.  Whatever.  I'm totally confused and not sure what I wrote but....does it really matter?  My point, if there ever was one, is that Juan and I were around a lot of the same people. 

Juan and I travelled to Spain together....did we actually travel together Juan?  Doesn't matter, we were in Sevilla and Madrid at the same time.  We went to a disco in Sevilla and showed up at 9p.m., far too early, had to leave to get a bite to eat and then returned after 11p.m. and were still early.  I believe it was later that evening that we took a cab with a friend I'd made in a dance class.  He took us to a club where the gypsy's hung out and danced Sevillana's.  I must say, they (the gitanos - gypsy's) intimidated us, but we stayed for a while.  Oh how I wish I'd had a video camera....

I remember a night in mid October when we were caught in the rain.  I don't know if Juan remembers but,  I had an umbrella and tried to share it with him, he's a tall guy but being the kind hearted person I am I was determined to keep him dry.  He grabbed the umbrella I'M SURE thinking he would keep us both out of the rain but due to his height, and quick stride, he stayed dry and I....well to say that my hair got frizzy would be an understatement.  Thanks Juan!

After a few months I returned home and Juan stayed on.  It was his first trip to Spain after having danced for many, many years.  Since then I think Juan has returned maybe five times.  I have too, in my dreams.

I just want to say that if you ever, ever need a Flamenco dancer; to take classes from or to perform, you must, must, must visit Juan's website  And if you're not in need of a dance class or dancer,visit his website anyway.  Juan was one of the original members of "El Cid" on Sunset which was originally a movie studio. 

Juan Congratulations on your many years of dancing.  Keep up the good work, you're an amazing dancer and man.