I’ll never forget the first time I saw Maria Benitez dance flamenco. It was at a popular Santa Fe hotel snuggled into the languid, rolling hills of the Southwest. I was beyond mesmerized. I’d never seen anything like it before. I was so enamored with what was happening, I actually abandoned my seat in the middle of the theatre and walked to the corner of the stage to get a better look.
I was just sixteen at the time, so people were forgiving of my curious nature. Up close, I could see Maria’s face: serious, determined, passionate and beautiful. It was if she were telling a story with the whole of her body. Each twist, turn and stomp of her feet seem to transport her to another place, another time and she was taking us (the audience) along for the ride. It was nothing short of magical.
After the concert (which I had been reluctant about attending because it meant I had to hang out with my parents for the evening,) I chatted on and on about what I had experienced. I even asked my parents what it would take to become ‘that’ kind of dancer. I fantasized about a life of flamenco and even returned to watch Maria take the stage again. The second time was even more powerful. I grew a healthy dose of respect for Maria (a world-renowned dancer) and her company, “Teatro Flamenco.” What’s more, watching her troupe perform ignited something inside me that would, frankly, never go away.
Unfortunately, my life and career would lead me away from the “Land of Enchantment,” but deep in my heart, I’ve always been a desert girl (who is incredibly bemused with all of its trappings) and that’s why for me, “Feeling Flamenco” is way more than just a fashion blog: learning to walk, talk, dress and do flamenco has always been a dream of mine.
So imagine my delight when flamenco started becoming mainstream; both fashionably and fitness wise. Lately, it’s become such a part of pop culture, there’s even a popular flamenco emoji (admit it, you’ve probably used it a few times!) Emoji aside, mastering a dance of such caliber, along with its collectively cool and fashion-forward costumes wasn’t going to be easy. So naturally, my team and I turned to one of the best flamenco dancers in Miami, Clarita Filgueiras. She actually reminds me of a younger, more delicate Maria Benitez.
Clarita, although petite, is a masterful and powerful artist. In fact, she’s the quintessential professional flamenco dancer (who also happens to own a small dance studio where she teaches her craft.) Clarita was practically born into the medium. Both her grandmother and father were flamenco singers and she actually saw her first performance at the tender age of seven. After watching it, she became inconsolably obsessed and never looked back; studying the dance for years upon years, she’s even traveled the world in pursuit of polishing her flamenco prowess.
Styling/Co-Producer/Assist: Jackie Kay
blog ideas: Jackiekay211@yahoo.com
Intern/Assist: Nick Martinez
Editor: Matthew Auerbach