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Dynamic equilibrium…

September 11, 2009

This week,

as part of my personal training camp,

I started to learn a new flamenco baile (dance)…

The connection between hockey and flamenco,

is so obvious,

it pains me to elaborate,

but I realize,

that we,

are not all,

on the same page…

And as some of your minds,

may be reeling,

by the very suggestion,

I’ll go slow…

First of all,

this baile is bata de cola…

The bata is a skirt,

with multiple layers,

Cola is Spanish for tail…

Second of all,

the stance of flamenco is aggressive,

the dance defies authority,

and it is all about emotional intensity

With bata de cola you need to use your energy,

to make yourself,

so much bigger,

than you really are…

Filling the palace like a queen…

Hopefully by now you’re beginning to see what I’m driving at…

My dance teacher received a Canada Council grant,

to study,

with La Mujer de bata de cola Mathile Coral,

for two months,

in Seville…

Teacher is a master at waxing,


about the arte de flamenco…

She gets the message across in a such a way that it hits you right between the eyes,

full force,

in italics…

The skirt weighs ten pounds or more,

and is made to measure,

by a seamstress,

in Ontario,

who studied the technique,

with traditional bata makers,

in Seville…

A bata isn’t something to mess around with…

This art requires care and attention,

or you won’t be able to get the skirt,

to do,

what you want it to do,

and then you might as well call it a night…

I imagine the feeling of slipping,

into a new bata de cola,

for the first time,

is much like snapping up,


on a maiden pair,

of hockey pants,

minus the hardware,

prepared to take on the world,

with deep roots,

in solid ground…

The bata is a tool for expression,

and in order to wield the cola effectively,

one must build a strong technical foundation,

and have a centered core…

The leg movement,

the dancer uses,

to lift the skirt,

is akin,

to the action,

of a stud,

marking territory (according to teacher),

or a forward,

working out,

a stride program…

The story is all the same,

just in different forms,

and this trilogy of motion,


from the gluteals…

A steep cross lift,

with a focus of power,

affects an altered state,

with a breath-taking,


of ruffles …

At one point,

as we flew,

into a collective groove,

a fellow dancer cried out,

This is just like HOCKEY!!!

And then she looked directly at me,

with a stroke of genius,

and said,

Look, SHE knew…

Rising my shirt for the occasion,

I rocked side to side,

with an inward smile,

imagining a volleyball in-between my knees,

and directing traffic,

with creative momentum…

It is only a matter of time before the Canucks clue into this exercise,

and when they’re ready,

Oh, Oh, Oh, Canada…

Oh, Canada...


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