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Signs Of Life

Columns by Pamela Majteles

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Posted by pam on January 14, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Originally published February 16, 2007

This column is reprinted with permission from The Hills Newspapers.

Finding passion this time of year is easy to do.  No roses or chocolates necessary.  With little effort at all, you can discover the kind of passion that carries you away.

When looking for passion, it’s easy to be misled.  For my taste, the word itself is used far too liberally.  For instance, it is thrown around in both the cosmetic and frozen food aisles of the supermarket (“Passion Pink” lipstick and “Passion Fruit” ice cream).  Has anyone ever really found passion while grocery shopping?

Sometimes, passion is used to describe great anger.  For a word with such potential to thrill, there is no sense wasting it on negative energy.  Rather than saying “He flew into a violent passion”, why not say, “He was so mad, he blew a gasket”?

Although passion is often associated with its first cousin, love, it is really much more.  Plenty of people feel love, but not everyone experiences the intensity of passion.  Frequently, passion has nothing whatsoever to do with the relationship between two people.  For example, you can love your spouse, but feel passion for a pair of beaded sling-back shoes.

With no particular fondness for shoes, I am open to other kinds of passion, such as the kind that accompanies flamenco dancing at La Taza de Café in Oakland.  Every other Friday night, dancers take the stage. While watching the performers, it is hard not to feel their passion. To be clear, I am not referring to their feelings for one another, but to the intense emotion revealed in the dance itself.

Before taking a step, these dancers know how to dress the part. One dancer appears in a long, satin gown of dusty pink.  The other wears a ruffled black dress trimmed in red with a white flower in her hair.  They are accompanied by a male guitar player clad all in black.

Like watching the beginning of a fire, the dancers start at a low smolder.  With more sparks than smoke, they move slowly but surely from a small flame to an all-consuming one.  At times, their arms are raised, arcing in expressive movement.  Other times, their hands stay down swinging their skirts, as if fanning the flame.

Along with the sight, the sound is equally sizzling.  The strumming of the guitar is not the only accompaniment.  As they swing around, the dancers frequently clap their hands in pulsating rhythm.  Nothing can match the echoing thunder of their stomping feet.

As they dance, they are carried away to another place.  It is a place of inspiration, boldness, and freedom from inhibition.  All the markings of true passion.

So, whatever kind of passion you seek, be sure and follow the lead of a flamenco dancer.  Remember to dress the part, turn up the heat, and make a lot of noise.  Only then, can you really get carried away.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 License.

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