Saturday, June 10, 2006

Dancing in the Cloister

Afonso Alvaro forbade his daughter from attending anymore flamenco lessons at the Dance Institute. He claimed it was less because of the over-affectionate teacher but more because, “Flamenco is a crude art. I will not pay money for you to jerk your body like that.” Soledad protested, “Father, I must dance. I live to dance.” Her father told her she was too young to know that kind of passion. “You will go to the convent!” He demanded. Soledad spent years in a scriptorium copying tears of the virgin onto sacred illustrations. Every day, one thousand times, she repeated her silent promise to God, “I will wait. Your mercy and grace will see to it that I dance again.” When she was over forty-five, Soledad lost her father to stomach cancer, and she left the convent. A year later she performed flamenco at a theater in New York City’s St. Marks place. Critics praised her technique, “Her fierce movements reveal the history of human pain.” At the after hours party, Soledad met Marco, the Salsa king of pleasure. That night, she was thrilled to lose her virginity to him.

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