Flamenco Fusion by da-AL

“Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” is the title of the first of my soon-to-be self-published novels. The ‘Sitting Cat’ part of the title refers to the geographical shape of Iran…

Map of Iran out lined in shape of a Sitting Cat.
Map of Iran outlined in the shape of a Sitting Cat.

I grew up with only classical music — and flamenco music and dance. My father, who left Barcelona in his mid-20s, wanted it that way. Since I left home at 18, it’s a gift to watch any type of dance I like and to listen to every kind of music that comes my way.

Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam respectfully and lovingly fuses dance cultures.
Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam respectfully and lovingly fuses dance cultures.

I still love classical — and flamenco! Especially fascinating to me is when flamenco is fused with the dance of Iran, where my husband was raised. Shahrokh Moshkin Ghalam is an Iranian dancer now residing in France. Flamenco is as much about individuality as it is about technique — it accommodates all cultures, all forms of beauty.

If only politics were as intent on creating a climate of ‘we’ rather than an ‘us vs. them’!

The way Ghalam (click here for his Facebook page) fuses dance styles is respectful and hypnotic…

For more flamenco, check out Part 3: Marvelous Madrid — Flamenco

What fusion art do you enjoy?

Shipra’s Indian Wedding Guide for Girls: a few of my thoughts by da-AL

Everyone should read Shipra’s imaginative fun packed blog. My fave of her posts:

Indian Wedding Guide for Girls
This post is my favorite example of Shipra’s wit and wisdom.

When I let her know how much I enjoyed it, here’s what developed:

I love how bloggers welcome each other so quickly.An interesting discussion had begun.This is what really got me to comparing our cultures.

As our discussion lingers in my mind, here’s some additional thoughts:

  • Real women speaking out everywhere, rather than merely famous ones, can only help everyone. That’s why blogs are wonderful!
  • Shipra’s description of Indian weddings, mothering, and stunted careers for women makes me grateful for my choices here in the U.S.
  • American weddings are often influenced by reality TV, sitcoms, and superstars, despite few of us being as prosperous we’re portrayed. Some weddings and marriages are traditional, while others are not. Some parents pressure for grandkids, others don’t. Either way, I don’t think parents have as much control over their kids as they do in other countries. For one thing, we’re too affluent to have to answer wholly to them. For another, our culture is too much about independence, even though more and more adult children are living with their parents longer.
  • Married, educated, working outside of the home — or not — women’s status in American still has a way to go. It’s decades since we won the right to choose whether to bring a child to term, yet today we’re forced to renew our fight to keep that right. Women earn only 77% of what men do. As ever, they do most of the childrearing, with little help from social programs.

Its easy to idealize other places when images are is filtered through politics and for-profit media. American researchers report that people elsewhere aren’t as lonely as us, that they’re happier, eat better and less, are trimmer, treat their elders better, and often live longer.

Los Angeles is a cultural kaleidoscope. When I travel abroad, it takes me a while to get acclimated to the lack of diverse people, home decors, and places to eat.

All the same, even with politics aside, immigrants have a tough time here. The more years they’re here, the less they have common with the folks they left behind. Their American-born kids grew up entirely different from them, and their grandkids all the more so.

Many immigrants complain that Americans aren’t into fun and socializing, that we work too many hours, that our families live too far apart, that youngsters are too materialistic. But those same people moved here to leave behind social and familial pressures, to set aside fun and socializing so they could earn lots of money.

As for career and motherhood, American women grapple with the same biological and career clocks as in India. To our advantage, while some parental pressure for grandkids is real, it’s usually not as intense as elsewhere. In my case, I feel fortunate that my personality side-stepped maternal pressures. I didn’t think I was cut out for motherhood until my happy marriage at age forty, when I fell for a man who does his best to be a fair partner. Since him, my attitude switched from, ‘kids aren’t for me,’ to, ‘if it happened, it happened.’

A good measure of this is thanks to the fact that, while I’m not wealthy, I’m not poor by American standards. For me, adoption has always be a viable option. It’s not appealing to me, though, when I consider how it usually involves politics and profiteering. Fertility procedures can involve shady business motives as well as physical risks. To my mind, parenthood is best left to the truly motivated.

Dear Reader, please feel free to join in the conversation.

Shipra’s blog.

Shipra’s post on Indian weddings.

National Organization of Women’s factsheet on U.S. women’s pay in comparison to that of American men.