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In a cellar off of the famous Rambla in Barcelona, I was blessed to experience authentic Flamenco tonight: a rich, earthy, rhythmic, hot Spanish dance and music tradition. The practitioners speak of the duende, a face of one’s soul that pulls one down into the earth and at the same time raises one’s spirit to a place beyond passion where pain and ecstasy are experienced and pulled through the body.

At certain points in the dance, practitioners raise their arms and hands high above their heads as if to draw down the energy of spirit, all the while stomping their feet furiously to pull up the power of soul. I felt all of the elements present in this art form: fire of passion, water of deep emotion, aforementioned earth, and spirit/wind/breath masterfully articulated in the singing that accompanies the dance.

The musicians, in this case with guitar and clapping of hands, help to establish and hold a container for this magnificently expressive articulation. Shouts of “Olé!” echo as singers, dancers and musicians push beyond limits of their art form. It is truly inspiring! These particular dancers had some years on them and the richness of their seasoning was readily apparent. As a drummer, I was half entranced by the rhythms and half trying to figure them out. I want to bring this wonderful indigenous art form to the United Palace. We had a troupe teaching our kids a year or two ago and now it's time to bring it back!


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