Thursday, May 10, 2018

Chasing That Which Cannot Remain

   The high one gets from putting on a good flamenco show only lasts about a day or two.  The Facebook and Instagram followup media helps it linger a bit longer, but life goes on and it's on to the next thing.
  Knowing how quickly these moments fade, I often wonder what the point of putting so much blood, sweat and tears into a performance really is.  A painter or recording artist has a finished product at the end of the day, but there is something about a shared flamenco moment that isn't meant to live on beyond the memories of those present.  Maybe that's why a given performance is special.  But we do seem to want to preserve these experiences.
  I have to admit, I study videos of performances on YouTube pretty often.  The first view is always the most exciting and impactful, but each subsequent view becomes more of a learning experience than a moment of enjoyment. There is something less palpable in a videoed performance, something I can't quite explain.  Perhaps it's akin to receiving a gift in the mail rather than face-to-face from a smiling loved one.  But its more than that.
  The live performance puts you there in the emotional space filled by artists provoking and inspiring each other to reveal their inner secrets and turmoil.  To label it "intimacy" is to risk using the cheesiest of cliches, but we lack a better word to describe it, and so it will have to do.  Some flamencos reveal their visceral selves from the moment they step in front of an audience, while others take their time observing, processing, and eventually trusting onlookers enough to honestly express themselves.  Each style provides a unique type of satisfaction, and sometimes the feeling can be recalled long after the performance is over.
  Years after the fact, one may ask an aficionado what it was that made their favorite show so good.  One is unlikely to get a clear answer.  How can we freeze a moment like a snapshot and do justice in describing what it was that broke our hearts or made them soar?  Surely it wasn't a single sound or visual, or combination of the two.  It must have been the way we became lost in the moment and did not desire to come back.  But we always come back.....and desire to get lost again.