Let’s face it. Spanish dancing is sexy. I’m not talking about Latin dances, like the salsa, cha-cha, or rumba. I’m talking about pure Spanish dances, like the pasodoble, or flamenco dancing.
So When I got the chance to go see Blood Wedding, a play by Federico Garcia Lorca, I jumped on it. Not just because of the flamenco dancers, but because of the lessons they can teach us. The play was put on by the University of South Florida’s School of Theatre and Dance, and it was the first directed by Freddy Mercury.
Written in 1932, Blood Wedding follows two Spanish lovers with two problems: the man is already married to another, and the woman is about to be married to someone she doesn’t really love. I know, it happens all the time in America. The only difference is, here they would end up on the “Jerry Springer Show” instead of being in a play about love and tragedy.
But enough of that, I’m not qualified to critique acting performances—only dance performances. Although the dancing in the play was limited, it served up tremendous dose of Spanish culture. That’s the lesson I want to share because it can help us better understand why some dance partners get into trouble.
The Spanish dances are deeply rooted in a culture where the man is the dominant figure in the relationship. And as difficult as that may be for the modern American woman to understand, it has its place in the world of dance. Even in modern American ballroom dancing, the man leads and the lady follows. However, it’s this particular phrasing that I think gets us into trouble. It sounds a little too much like “Me Tarzan, You Jane.”
I prefer to put it this way: the man invites the lady, and then (and only then) she decides if she’s willing to accept it. In other words, the man is the frame, the lady is the picture. Spanish dancing is just another way to paint that picture.
If you think of your dance partner in those terms, instead of the old-fashioned “he leads, she follows” routine, both of you will be thankful. In the meantime guys, do yourselves a favor: get out and see some Spanish dancing.
Blood Wedding runs through April 23 at theater II at USF. It has two versions: Spanish and English.