Posted by Jerry on December 6, 2006
The flamenco dance is like an Ayn Rand novel in rhythmic action: hard-hitting, sharp, precise, thunderous, passionate, gripping, poised, and proud. Since the day I first witnessed a flamenco dance performance in concert, I have never forgotten the visceral experience of exaltation I had nor have I come to regard any other dance form as rivaling this one. The flamenco portrays man at his best, proudest, and most passionate stature. It depicts a committment to clarity and precision in movement. Its expressions are fierce and its colors, vivid.
The flamenco can be a fiery celebration of life, or love, or lust, or power, or some intense emotion. Its artistic selectivity is focused on the stark elements of human actions and emotions: the expressions are not vapid or one of ambivalence. The dancer’s expressions are focused, sharp, intense, often proudly disdainful, also exuberant, and radiant. The dancer moves with a loud, deliberate THUD, as if readying for battle. The subtleties of its movements are expertly weaved into the stark contrasts in its execution.
For me, after having watched a flamenco concert, I feel a new, revitalized, surge of energy–a nourishment of my soul, a renewed committment to the pursuit of my happiness in this life. I begin to walk upright with my neck slightly raised; my poise exudes more confidence; my stance implies purposeful action; my gaze reveals some worthy goal.
This is what Romantic art does. In The Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand aptly describes this important function of art:
Since a rational man’s ambition is unlimited, since his pursuit and achievement of values is a lifelong process… he needs a moment, an hour or some period of time in which he can experience the sense of his completed task, the sense of living in a universe where his values have been successfully achieved. It is like a moment of rest, a moment to gain fuel to move farther. Art gives him that fuel; the pleasure of contemplating the objectified reality of one’s own sense of life is the pleasure of feeling what it would be like to live in one’s ideal world. The fuel is not a theoretical principle but the fact of experiencing a moment of metaphysical joy–a moment of love for existence.
[The image of the dancer is copyrighted to Tim Kahane and was obtained by me from this Flickr link.]