Published on October 6th, 2014 | by Jillian Wightman0
Writers’ Group: Flamenco by Imogen Matthews
Aynho Writers October 2014
The haunting chords of the guitar reveal a sad story that draws the dancer to the stage. Eyes downward, she holds the folds of her bright red dress, as she moves slowly, stalking in time to the music. She doesn’t look Spanish with her blonde hair tied at her nape with an orange flower. Every now and then she flashes her light steely blue eyes upward. Her mouth, a red gash in her pale face.
Behind her, the singer, sitting large astride a chair, begins her lament and claps her accompaniment to the guitar. He sits beside her, his long dark hair hiding his face, as he folds himself over his instrument as if in a caress.
The dancer follows the music, repeatedly flicking her fan open to hide her face, then snapping it shut. She begins to draw sinuous shapes with her other hand above her head and down her body. She’s the main focus, stamping the rhythm, heel, toe, a staccato-rap like the keys of a typewriter.
In the audience sits Juan, his black hair drawn severely back from his angular face. His dark, brooding eyes do not leave the dancer who lifts her own to stare at the audience beyond him.
Juan always sits at the same table covered in a white cloth with a mantilla-shaped lantern whose flickering flame throws his face into shadow. He looks angry, resentful of the beautiful woman who flaunts herself before him. She has played with his affections and continues to do so night after night. Yet powerless, he’s in thrall to her.
She twists her body first right, then left, throwing back her head as she traces her body in a sensuous move from collar bone to hip. Lifting her rippling skirt, teasingly, she reveals her intricate footwork. The only sound now comes from the pounding of her shoes on the bare wooden stage.
Juan leans forward in his seat, his elbows on the white cloth as if to get catch her attention but still she won’t look in his direction. Her forehead glistens, so intent is she on continuing the dance. A quiet section has the audience on its feet, clapping and cheering, but her spectator knows this is not the end and he remains seated. Still he must endure more until the final crescendo comes –a deep cry from the singer, frenzied strumming from the guitar player as the dancer contorts herself as if in pain to finish abruptly, fan spread below her taunting eyes. With a flourish, she sweeps the frills of her dress behind her. At last she meets Juan’s eye, a smile curling at her lips. But then she swings her gaze towards the open doorway where a dark figure has appeared. The bow she takes is for him. Juan jumps up to protest, but the standing ovation and cheers from the audience mask his anguish. The dancer lifts her head once more. Her eyes are moist, but for whom?