Sunday, 2 March 2014

Homenaje: Two Videos and a Funeral

Paco de Lucia: Source: Euronews

The legendary flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia died this week.   I am still trying to digest this.  Still in a quiet state of disbelief and shock as are many flamenco friends.  To anyone who loves flamenco, Paco de Lucia, despite his age, seemed immortal.

To put his death in context, think of the rippling effect globally of the death of a figure held up and admired as being truly great in their field elsewhere.  Think of what the death of John Lennon meant to popular music, or that of Alexander McQueen to fashion, and of how they were publicly mourned afterwards.  As one friend said: flamenco was changed for ever while Paco was alive - it has changed for ever now he is gone.

His funeral was today. I expect every flamenco artist worth his or her salt in Spain would have been there to pay their respects.  Some incredible photos of the funeral coming out on the web, this one of Vicente Amigo, another of my favourite guitarists, as one of the coffin bearers.

Source: DeFlamenco via facebook
Paco de Lucia was considered one of flamenco's greatest ambassadors, the one who took it out of Andalusia and to the world, and also out of it's own comfort zone.  He pioneered the fusion of flamenco with other musical forms like jazz and classical, opening flamenco to a much wider audience as a result.

Recently I got to try my own fusion of flamenco with another art form, that's if you choose to see fashion as part of the creative arts, which I certainly do.  The passing away of Paco de Lucia made me reflect back on that with a fresh perspective.  I often baulk at mixing flamenco with other things but I think Paco would have probably approved of such fusion.  A young fashion designer took Andalucia and the story of Bizet's Carmen as the inspiration for a fashion collection and had a vision of having a flamenco dancer perform during his fashion show.  As a result I was able to play a small part in bringing flamenco to a new audience, or at least provided some cultural context to the inspiration behind a designer's vision to people whose primary interest is fashion.  And it certainly took me out of my comfort zone as a dancer.

I am very often surrounded by people who think artistic and creative endeavors are a complete waste of time and see no value in them.  Yet creatives, in any field, are so important.  Creatives have the vision and openness of mind to cross boundaries and draw inspiration from new sources, crystallising their ideas through their skills into new and beautiful works of art for the enjoyment of all, works of art that transport us elsewhere, open our minds and make us see the world just that little bit differently afterwards.  In this way art can unite people.  When a great creative leaves us, all of us are a little poorer for it.

Many of the comments from my last post asked to see a video of my flamenco performance at London Fashion Week.  I did actually put one on the last post but probably people didn't realise it was there.  At any rate there is a new one posted below that was taken at the actual show with some snippets of me in full flight between clips of backstage antics and the catwalk show.  If you are interested in seeing the full dance during our rehearsal I've also reposted the livestreaming video here - you'll have to forward 16 minutes in to see it.  I'm dancing a dance called Siguiriyas.  I found a good description of Siguiriyas here:
"Slow, majestic and tragic, Siguiriyas is the most jondo of cante jondo forms. Its lyrics focus on tragedy, inconsolable sorrow, and pain."
We didn't have a singer (for the record, performing without a singer is bloody difficult), but I think the sentiment is still there.  Fitting I think for my personal homenaje for Paco de Lucia.

Éthologie - London Fashion Show 2014 from The Editor on Vimeo.

Video streaming by Ustream


  1. Hello Miss V! You are a magnificent dancer, so powerful and graceful! I love the models' mantilla. It's always a tragic shock when a genius who has shared all of their talents suddenly dies. It can take so long for fans to recover. xx

  2. Magnificent! The sound of the guitar lured Jon downstairs and we've both admired your talent together! xxx

  3. Are you the dancer in the last video? I cannot believe how wonderfuly you dance.
    True art runs through your veins, and el maestro Paco de Lucía lo confirma desde el cielo del ARTE.

  4. Since I am sadly ignorant about all things flamenco (apart from knowing who Joaquin Cortes is), I have never heard of this musician, but I can appreciate the sadness at the death of a master in his field.
    You are a stunning dancer, so beautifully fluid and graceful yet powerful and wildly sexy! How brilliant to see you in motion, doing your fabulous thing, thank you! xxx

  5. It's such a great pleasure to see you dance!

  6. You looked amazing with the ambiance of the lighting. I can see where your hair plays a staring role as well when you dance.

    It is true that losing someone that is considered a creative genius is a huge loss.


  7. How lovely to see you in action! I would love to see a close-up, but at least I could see a bit of you in all your glory. I loved the dancing + cool. You are so very talented! Thanks for letting me know!

  8. So sorry for your loss ... that's the same kind of relationship I was thinking of with artistic antecedents in my recent Druidy post. Like family of a very real kind.
    FABULOUS to see you dance. Dan and I both were riveted, and watched it a couple of time. A pleasure ... thank you for posting it.


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