¡Arriba! calls the instructor and in unison arms are raised and
a Flamenco sequence is stamped out in a little studio underneath the grandstand at the Regatta
Flamenco dancing evokes southern Spain; flowing black hair; long skirts
scooped high above knees; frenetic hand clapping and gypsy guitar.
In reality its reach is international and it has a modest but inspired
following here in Hobart.
Wearing dancing shoes, soles embedded with tacks and heels reinforced; and skirts replete with flounces, a dozen women follow the teaching of
their Spanish virtuosa, Marina Tamayo.
Ms Tamayo implores the group to stop thinking and go with the flow.
In just a few moments watching this master class, it’s clear that
Flamenco is a life force. Each stamp of the heel connects the dancer to the
earth, energy flowing through strong legs, body taut confronting the space surrounding
it, the core turning this way, turning the other way.
The genesis for the group of Hobart Flamencas was an Adult Ed class over
12 years ago. Like Flamenco rhythm, the group has slowed down and had more
frenzied periods over the years but when Ms Tamayo comes a
calling, this group of women don their skirts and dance.
This Girl met Tash and Bethany during a short breather in their recent
Sunday class. Bethany, from Hobart, has been dancing from the beginning; Tash,
from Oatlands, joined around 8 years ago.
What is it about this Spanish
dance that makes it a perfect fit for Hobart?
After talking with Tash and Bethany it’s clear why Flamenco is meaningful.
It is an experience that is earthy, passionate, powerful and
intense. It’s a little bit of therapy. In a world where we are too often
preoccupied, living in the past or in the future,
Flamenco demands the dancer to inhabit the body and be in the present.
Flamenco is performance. It’s both fun and transformative; an opportunity
to put your house dress aside and your heels and beautiful skirts on; an
opportunity to step out of the day to day and be different.
It is also self-reliance; you don’t need a partner to do this dance.
Flamenco is discipline. It has a challenging rhythm, you’ve got to work
at it, using your brain. In this way it’s exercise as much for the mind as it
is for the body.
Tash and Bethany didn’t say this but Flamenco is sexy. If you step into
its world, it requires your confidence. It effects how you hold your body and
it requires that you possess it. Flamenco encourages your physicality.
Aside from all that intensity there’s humour here to. When asked to
clarify a move the maestra responds, ‘I never push my hip out. I just lean on
it.’ She repeats, ‘I never push my hip out, it’s just that I have a lot of it.’
With a flounce and a leg lift she encourages the class, ‘You can do that
at the supermarket!’
Hobart is home to a couple of Flamenco professionals who have taught on
and off over time. This seems to be supplemented by Ms Tamayo visits from Sydney a few
times a year.
This group of flamencas is another one of the enclaves of shared passion that form all
over Hobart that This Girl loves.
With the Derwent and Mount Wellington traversing the city, the beautiful environment, its energy and vitality is our every day experience. Similarly, these flamencas are connected, grounded, vibrant
Flamenco is a perfect fit for Hobart.
Ms Tamayo has a website for more information, find it here.
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