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In the Shoes of a World­ Class Dancer

Lauren Smiley | November 8, 2012 | Story Galleries and Performance

The Shy Girl:
“I was kind of an outcast in high school. Flamenco found me. Even before I went to my first class, I knew I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life. I didn’t talk much, and flamenco became my language. It expresses any emotion you could feel.”

The Footwork:
“The feet are another instrument. The shoes are leather, with nails in the toe and heel. Audiences like to see a lot of fast, heavy moves, but it’s hard to make that interesting musically.”

The Lyrics:
“Even Spaniards don’t understand them a lot of times.”

The Hair Clip:
“It has really long teeth. Once the baggage-check workers at the airport were like, ‘This could be used as a weapon.’”

The Jitters:
“I get very nervous before any show. I start to forget the choreography; I have to pee a lot. It’s a good thing—it means you still have this respect for the art form.”

The Outfit:
“Ruffles and fuller skirts used to be the norm. Now you see a lot of polka dots. That comes from when poor women would patch the holes in their skirts with another color. I’m not a big polka-dot fan.”

The Hard Part:
“It’s so difficult to be still onstage—just to be. But the audience can’t appreciate what you’re doing if you’re constantly moving.”

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, Nov. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; Nov. 9-11 at Cowell Theater, S.F..


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