When your 8 year old daughter tells you that you have no passion, it hurts. You see Pippa has decided that she is a flamenco dancer in her soul. I am not.
This all started when we took her to Seville last year and she watched one of the best flamenco dancers in the world perform. The woman was serious. Her face was wrinkled and her eyes sorrowful. She danced with such extreme passion that it was hard not to be moved. Maggie thought the lady was crazy. She wanted her to smile. She was not impressed by her intensity. Pippa was transfixed.
Watching the flamenco dancer told a story of pain and passion. Pippa studied her every move. When the show was over, Pippa’s new life began. She begged me to buy her an entire flamenco dancer outfit. This was the easy part because every tourist shop in Seville is teeming with the crap. Pippa rarely asks for anything, so the costume seemed innocent enough. When she put it on, she was transported. She had truly studied the performance and started dancing with such passion. Her face mimicked the lady she had watched before. Her feet started pounding the ground with real rhythm. I truly was moved.
I also thought that this would be a phase. I was wrong. She continued to dance. Every time she would dance a sorrowful dance. Pippa’s face would express pain and sadness. A pain, her then 7 year old life, had never experienced. She told me she felt flamenco in her soul.
Fast forward to this winter. My parents are visiting us in Portugal and they suggest a vacation in Spain. We head to the Marriott Playa Andalusia in Marbella, Spain. It is a fabulous resort filled with activities to do. One night they even had a flamenco show. We reserved the front row. Pippa dressed in her flamenco costume and after preparing my parents for what they were about to expect, she settled in to be wowed.
The three female dancers began dancing to music that was recorded. This was their first mistake. As Pippa pointed out to my parents, they needed to dance to live guitar music to be authentic. Strike one. When the dancers were smiling, Pippa wanted to leave. She whispered in my ear, too loudly I might add, that we should leave because these women were not professional. Strike two. The women continued to put on a pretty decent performance, albeit not as good as the one in Seville. Pippa was crushed. Strike three came when no male dancer appeared. In Seville, the intense dancer did several dances with a man. These were dances of a lost love and they were deeply moving. Pippa said that without a male dancer, these women were missing the point of the passionate break up.
My parents were really impressed by the show. They enjoyed the dancing and they couldn’t wait to see Pippa dance flamenco back in the room. When we got back to our room, Pippa said the show was crap. She picked apart the dancers lack of understanding of true flamenco. She told her grandparents that she was glad they liked the show, but that it was for tourists only. The only thing she liked was their costumes.
The next day we were visiting the stunning ancient city of Córdoba. We saw a professional flamenco shop with real costumes, not ones for tourists. Pippa ran inside. She studied the dresses, the shoes and the castonettes. A sales lady asked Pippa if she needed some help. Pippa started talking about the show from the night before.
She told the lady that her grandparents had taken her to a flamenco show where the dancers were smiling. The sales lady said that was wrong. Pippa told her she thought it was terrible to not show passion. The sales lady asked Pippa to dance. In this small shop in Córdoba, Spain my daughter started to dance. The worker clapped an intense rhythm that is a huge part of flamenco and yelled olè, which they also do during dances to encourage the performers. The sales lady said that Pippa understood the passion needed to be a flamenco dancer.
Pippa and the sales lady then discussed, in depth, why a hotel would not show true flamenco. Tourists, they concluded, need upbeat things, not things with true passion.
On the drive home, my daughter said to me that, “flamenco is about pain and loss, you just don’t get it mom. You need to have passion to understand flamenco.”
How does my daughter who has never experienced pain, nor loss fake it well enough to trick us all? This is a mystery of life. Also, I have experienced both pain and loss, but apparently this did not translate into my body, because I lack true passion, according to my child. I could be hurt, but I am more stunned that I have been ‘out passioned’ by my baby.
(This is a picture of the ladies smiling. Pippa refers to this as proof.)