One Hundred Fifteen

IMG_5216A Year of Yoga: April 26, 2014

Pose: Side Angle Pose

Sanskrit: Utthita Parsvakonasana)

Location: Iglesia del santos sin manos. This is one of many churches we walk past almost everyday. At some point we noticed most of the statues of the saints didn’t have hands. Since we don’t know the actual name of this place, we started calling it “no hands saint church”. Tonight we were walking home pretty late so unfortunately the photo isn’t the greatest. This is the first weekend we decided to stay in Sevilla and relax. Saturday night, one of the Brits organized an impromptu night out to search for some live music. We joined her and some of the students. As you may (or may not) know, night life in Spain doesn’t really even start until midnight. I like to go to bed at midnight, but we decided since we had nowhere to be in the morning, we would do as the Sevillanos. We caught a little blues act in the jazz cafe and then decided to head over to Triana for some flamenco. Triana is said to be the best place for flamenco. We were hoping to find place called Casa Anselma, that someone recommended to Sally. We arrived at the right street but didn’t see anything with the right name. There was however, a queue of people outside a dark building. We determined that they were waiting to get into Casa Ansalma and that the doors opened at midnight and the show started at 12:30. We hadn’t anticipated waiting in a line for 45 minutes to get into a place, but we agreed that it would be just as late by the time we found another place and at least here, we were second in line. Once they let us inside, we could see that seats are for people with reservations. Apparently you can’t even get reservations unless you’re connected. Then there is standing room only which is first come first serve. And of course, I mean standing room only; European style. No fire codes, no personal space, just packed in as tight as possible. We didn’t have to pay a cover to get in though, so we thought it would turn out to be a night of free music. Haha, we should have known better. Sally (who speaks very good Spanish) asked for a tap water at the bar and got shut down. I believe the response was (in highly disgusted Spanish) “If you want a drink, you’re going to pay for it”. I guess we thought that meant drinks were not obligatory. They were €7 each, which is crazy expensive for Europe (although normal for a club in the U.S.) We’ve definitely gotten used to drinking for cheap. Even if I wanted to pay for a drink, I was really intimidated to order something. There was one bartender and she was being snippy with anyone that walked up to the bar. There was one server for the whole room. People were just shouting drink orders at her and she seemed to have a system that I couldn’t quite follow. She looked like someone I didn’t want to cross. About 20 minutes after the show started, the main woman, Ansalma I presume, kept looking over in our direction and must have noticed there were too many people without drinks. So she got up and came over and started demanding orders from people. Someone tried to tell her they didn’t want anything, and she yelled at them and said if they didn’t drink they had to stand by the door. So that’s how this works. Makes perfect sense. No cover, one drink minimum. But they assume you know this going in. Of course, I didn’t want to mess with Ansalma either so I ordered a whiskey and coke and nursed it all night so I didn’t have to order a second one. The whole atmosphere was amazing. I felt a little like an intruder, not being Spanish, but it was so good I didn’t care. It was an authentic flamenco experience. There was more or less a circle around the center. There were several men playing guitars and drums seated in the middle. Anybody who wanted to get up and perform could do so. There was an older, amply sized, woman who got up and danced. There was an engaged couple who got up and danced and kept getting coerced into dancing again and again. There was a woman who sang. The men playing the music each took turns dancing, singing, performing solos, etc. The audience participated as well, clapping and singing along. I don’t know how long the performance is supposed to be, but we finally decided to leave around 2am. Things seemed to still be going strong. They perform every night apparently. So if you are ever in Sevilla and you want an authentic flamenco experience, definitely go to Casa Ansalma and if you don’t have a reservation, get there an hour early to stand in line, and make sure you have a drink in hand!

Photography Credit: Brandon



Ninety One

IMG_2847A Year of Yoga: April 2, 2014

Pose: Half Moon Variation

Sanskrit: Ardha Chandrasana

Location: Museum of Flamenco Dance. Today we took my brother and sister-in-law to the Museo del Baile Flamenco for a flamenco show. This is the same place we saw our first flamenco show and after a bit of research it seemed like a good balance of high quality, right price, and not overly touristy. We arrived early so we could get better seats and ended up right in the first row. The female dancer tonight ended up being my dance instructor Rosa. I was so excited to get to see her perform. She was incredible as was her male counterpart, Jose. We were so close that Rosa’s dress was practically hitting us in the face Jose’s sweat was spraying on us. It was worth it though to get such an incredibly close look at everything they were doing with their feet. Flamenco seems impossible. I can’t follow the rhythms and everything is so fast. It’s very moving though and I’m so glad we got to see a great show while my family was here.

Photography Credit: Brandon


Seventy Seven



A Year of Yoga: March 18, 2014

Pose: Low lunge with quad stretch

Location: The foyer of my building. Tonight Lulu and me went to a flamenco dance lesson. We joined about 15 of the students and went back to the Museo de Baile Flamenco. We were greeted by Rosa, a stern looking Spanish woman with a super tight bun and more black eye makeup than a goth kid. She had a deep throaty voice and broken English. She was awesome. She taught us what I’m sure to her is an extremely simple flamenco dance. I’m thinking they teach this dance to 5 year olds. Of course, we all looked clumsy and uncoordinated compared to her (and probably even the 5 year olds). One of the traditions of flamenco dancing is the group forms a circle and one person walks to the center and performs alone. Yes…she made us do this. After she taught us the dance, she started taking students by the shoulders and firmly guiding them to the middle of the circle. If they couldn’t remember the steps, she would join them and remind them. The rest of us participated by clapping a simple flamenco rhythm. It was a great experience. I didn’t have to dance in the circle of my husband’s students, but I would have.

Photography Credit: Lulu

Seventy Five



A Year of Yoga: March 16, 2014

Pose: Warrior 1 with eagle arms variation

Sanskrit: Virabhadrasana 1

Location: Just outside the Museo de Baile Flamenco. If you look up in the window you can see a cool flamenco poster. The streets here are so narrow it was hard to find a great angle. Tonight we had a cultural calendar activity. We got a private guided tour of the museum. It happens to be the only museum in the world dedicated to flamenco. We learned that there are many kinds of flamenco and each type is dedicated to a different emotion. Tango, for example, is about the emotions of passionate love and lust. We learned that although flamenco has been around for a long time, it didn’t gain any international attention until the 1960’s when some movies started featuring flamenco dancing. One famous flamenco dancer, Cristina Hoyos is the founder of the museum. The museum also houses a dance school and performs flamenco shows in the evenings. After our tour we got to see a show. It was definitely a touristy thing to do, but holy crap! I have never been so impressed with guitar playing, singing, and dancing. It is impossible to follow the rhythm of the clapping. It was a one hour show but I could have easily sat through several hours of it.

Photography Credit: Brandon

Thirty Eight

A Year of Yoga: February 7, 2014

Pose: Tiger Sanskrit: Chakravakasana

Location: Hillcrest Recreation Center We went out to dinner with a friend and colleague with whom we are planning to travel in Portugal over spring break. After dinner we made a quick stop at this location where Momo took dance lessons for a couple years. She would balance beam the brick wall in her ballet slippers and run screaming on the grass with her fellow tiny dancers. I’m not sure it gets much cuter than a handful of 5 year olds in tutus.

Photography Credit: Brandon