Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Callejón Flamenco

by Mele Martinez

The last few months have been a flurry of flamenco madness – workshops, travel, shows, performances, artists, photo shoots, parties, patadas, flamenco, flamenco, flamenco!  It has been so many blessings in such a short amount of time, I can barely wrap my mind around all that I’ve seen and felt for weeks now.  It’s a problem I like to have! The best part is that it is not over – we have some wonderful things to look forward to just on the horizon.  Though not long ago it seemed we might actually have to rethink our dreams of a flamenco studio in Tucson, God has instead taken us in a new (and better) direction.  While we make plans, He gets the last word – just as it should be.

The biggest flamenco project that Jason and I have worked towards in the last couple of months was the renovation of our studio.  Actually, we can finally now call it a studio!  Before, in all honesty, it was just an old garage/storage space with little hope of inspiring the creative expression flamenco demands.  We studied there, we taught there, and we grew as artists in that old space, true.  But it needed serious work.  I’m convinced our practice was hindered by the horribly uneven floor, cluttered pilings of our studio belongs, cracked mirrors, mix-matched awkward furniture, unruly electrical lines . . . well, you get the picture.   But things have changed.  And change can be very good.

We cleaned the slate of that old garage, and with the help of some great people, we were able to transform it to a simple and lovely place to study what we do - flamenco.  The ironic thing is that this pleasing new studio looks so much different now on the inside even though it is exactly the same on the outside.  Right outside the door, absolutely nothing about the place has ever been impressive, and it still isn’t.  Our door opens to an alley that is unkept, and many of the buildings lining it (along with dumpsters) are covered with graffiti and littered with broken glass.  Paper trash and alley cats meander down the path.  The cratered road of the alley is not inviting, and many times, neither are the individuals who walk that road late at night, early in the morning, and even in the heat of the mid-day.  Any business-minded person would tell us that our location is not ideal for attracting anyone – especially women.  And yet, it is the location that we have been given.   It was definitely not the kind of location we had in mind when we planned for a studio, but it has been God’s answer.  And knowing that, I also know that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.

I haven’t always felt that way.  I’ve gotten very frustrated in the last few years with the state of our alley.  I’ve called 911 more times than I care to admit.  I can’t stand the look, the sound, or the smell of that alley.  And no matter how hard I’ve tried to figure out how to make it different – how to “beautify it” - I’ve had to take a deep breath and realize… there are some things you just can’t change. 

I can’t change my face, I can’t change my color, and I can’t change most of what people see when they look at me.  But I can be renewed inside.  I can clean the slate, I can get rid of the clutter, sweep out the dust, and make a new, simple, and satisfied person on the inside.  I can do that.  Sometimes we don’t get what we ask for; sometimes we just get what we get, and what we get can be the beginnings of something wonderful, something true, and something special just to us.

Maybe God wants us doing flamenco in a dark alley.  Maybe we are supposed to be bringing that light, that rhythm, that smell of sweat and fresh paint and newly stretched guitar strings to a place where no one would have ever thought to put them.  Maybe this is what flamenco is all about - abrasive outside, spirit inside. 

No comments:

Post a Comment