So many “ME”…. Tablao Night at Casa del Compas – 6 August 2016

Photos @mareelaffan

My husband always says to me that my emotional ups and downs are erratic. I did not believe, or if he were right, I was confident that it did not cause any trouble for him. At least I thought this way until recently.

My flamenco teacher converts her dance studio to “Tablao” (a bar/restaurant where flamenco shows are on) 3-4 times a year. She welcomes any flamenco dancers to perform at her Tablao. Performing flamenco, especially at Tablao, is like a jazz session between the singer, guitarist and dancer, and the dancer is a sort of playing the role of conductor. For me as a trainee dancer, this is a scary but wonderful opportunity as you can imagine.  – “Excited Naoko”

“I have done it before, and I will do it again”, I thought. This time, Solea – beautiful dance which we had been working on in the class last year. Solea is apparently from the word of “Solidad” – Solitude, so it is not a happy dance. The chorography that my teacher gave us is really beautiful. It is like you are in a dark place looking for something to get out of it. When you think you have found it, you feel like you will lose it again. But in the end, you don’t care anymore and just go for it. I don’t know what the actual choro means but, this is what I felt and this is how I dance.  – “Arty Naoko”

There was just one concern. This dance is shockingly difficult. The footwork is ridiculous in the Solea’s slow tempo which makes me easily lose in the compas (like rhythm in flamenco terms). The difficult steps keep coming one after another in a different form and there is no place where I can be relaxed during the 15 minutes dance. On top of the pressure of working with professional musicians, a huge anxiety hit me. After a couple of bad rehearsals, all I could do was sleep. I went to bed at 9:30 every day, as I did not need to think of anything while I slept. – “Stressed Naoko”

However, after all, it is me- positive in nature to the end. It was the morning of Tablao, what could I do? Coincidently, the day was the 6th of August – an important day for us Japanese. I knew what I dance for on this special day. When I thought about it, my mind was sent and ready. – “Determined Naoko”

Yes it was not perfect. Yes there were still many things to develop. But I certainly enjoyed performing on the day. The musicians and palmeras (who make percussion-sound by clapping hands) were creating this vibe which is “THE” flamenco. I was just so happy to be able to perform with them and create this vibe together. I really hope that it delivered to the audience and that they enjoyed it as much as I did.  – “Happy Naoko”

I really appreciate my teacher, my fellow dancers and the musicians. They were wonderfully tolerant with me, encouraged me and helped me a lot. And of course to my husband, yep now I admit my emotional ups and downs, and he is the one who had to handle “ME”s. Hope he does not mind going through this again with me.

And a Special thanks to Maree Laffan – a wonderful photographer who captured the moment. I actually look like “Solea” there, don’t I?


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