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Love for poetry

For those of you who may be interested, Rumi, the 15th century Persian Poet, is the most popular and most read poet today in the United States.  Of course the statistic that was given by BBC took me by surprise at first. But after some thought I could understand why Rumi’s poetry is recited and studied after hundreds of years.  There is no question that Rumi’s poetry is timeless and carries profound messages about spirituality and personal growth. But just from a perspective of a poet– the reader gets lost in the lush imagery and deep symbolism.
So, for the past month I have been taking an on-line poetry class with two noted scholar.  Every morning, a message pops on my computer that I have my poem for the day.  Every morning I looked forward to reading the stanza and also learning about the mystical or more spiritual translation of the poetry.  I soon found out that the best part of this on-line course was the insightful shares that the other participants posted on the website.
This inspired me to start up a poetry dialogue on my facebook page where for one month we would read and analyze the selected poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke–another talented and extraordinary poet.  Each morning, I post a quote and I look forward to reading all the comments during the day.  What makes this exercise especially fun for me is that I am constantly reading what I enjoy the most–poetry.
Speaking of the arts–I want to include a link to an article a friend of mine has written about the honoring of the celebrated Iranian journalist, artist, and producer, Parviz Nazerian.  His career has spanned three decades and what I admire most about him is his open and expanded view about women’s role in society and world religions.

Flamenco and Beyond…..

So much has happened since two weeks ago. As I finished my final leg of speaking engagements in Arizona and Los Angeles, I geared up with days of practice for my upcoming flamenco recital.

Yes….you guys have all heard of my great love for flamenco before, and now I was put to the test in front of 200 people!  So, you must assume that since I am in front of crowds I wouldn’t have a problem with performing. But let me tell you–speaking and dancing are two different animals.  To think this was the first real formal dance class I ever did, and I had no idea what I had gotten myself into.  What I soon realized is that it takes great discipline to learn any new skill, and it really is hard on the ego to start something new when you are older.

But I have no regrets. I really LOVED the whole process. I learned so much about this soulful and passionate dance.  What I learned is that flamenco is highly improvisational yet structured in beats.  The performances are in reality a collaboration between the dancer, singer, and the musicians (while on stage, the dancer gives signals as to what she will be doing to alert the musicians and singers).  The lyrics of the music are moving and full of emotion.  While I was in college I had studied Frederico Garcia Lorca’s works, but it wasn’t until I started studying flamenco that I learned that he was deeply involved in writing the lyrics and poetry to his country’s folkloric dance tradition.

It was pouring the night of the recital.  Actually it was one of the worst storms LA had seen in years, and I felt especially bad that friends and family were driving through flooded streets to attend.  But, once I was on the stage and saw the familiar faces, I was actually comforted by their presence.

Our first dance, was a group dance–the boulerias.  This is no exaggeration. We messed it up.  Our footwork was out of step and our moves were not in unison. Some forgot some steps, some ended their dance sooner, while others just looked at each other mystified.

I thought to myself, if this is how it will be for the rest of the night, we are in for a dreadful show.  Thank goodness, we all redeemed ourselves in the following dances.  I must say, it was a bit unnerving to do a solo right after the boulerias, but it actually turned out well.

So, what did I like most about the experience? Well, aside from the super beautiful costumes I got to wear (I am a clothes horse), it was the feeling that took over me while I was dancing.  Honestly, for a long time I have wanted to learn flamenco, but as much as I was attracted to the movements, I was intimidated by its complexity.  That night I can say I was proud that I did something that I loved and I took a chance.  This comes to show that it is never too late to learn something new–it is all about our enthusiasm with which we approach a task, or better yet, life!