Monday, 1 June 2009

Flamenco parade in St Jean de Luz

The second day of the Andalou Festival in St Jean de Luz was outstanding. We began early with a service at the church. An Andalusian choir with 20 singers (and castanets) replaced the usual church organ, the first five pews were filled with children wearing Spanish dress rather than the usual more formally attired and mature congregation. As we were part of the Flamenco event (I dressed in black, my good lady in a yellow Spanish dress with rose in hair) we were sitting with the other adult dancers behind the children. We were a formidable sight. Halfway through the service, after our friend FX had spoken eloquently, 100 children danced sevillianas in the aisles, even the priest was clapping to the rhythm. The service concluded and we exited behind the choir boys, headed for the main square by now we were some 200 strong.

The police had cordoned off the centre of Place Louis XIV. The band-stand held musicians who readily struck up as we filled the central arena. Around the perimeter were 20 horses whose riders were dressed in traditional Spanish garb, stunning. Beyond them, and beyond the police perimeter some 600 locals and tourists watched on eagerly. For six months this is what we had been training for. For six months Fabiana has been saintly in her patience. Could we perform in public and retain a modicum of pride? Our fellow dancers ensured we did and with their support our confidence grew. After half an hour I even heard shouts of bravo from the crowd, and I knew it wasn't my mother, she was definitely in Scotland.

The horses began to organise themselves. Filing five abreast we lined up behind the riders and began a tour of St Jean de Luz stopping in various places to break into dance. We passed our apartment and many friends before arriving at the 'casetas' for an afternoon of dancing, drinking and tapas.

If you'd told me 3 years ago that I would learn to dance Flamenco and during the course of a day dance in front of more than 1,000 people and look back on that day as one of my finest, I'd have said you were mad. Fabiana, you are a superstar.

Basque of the day:- happy :: zoriontsu