Ironing the layers and layers of ruffles on the long skirt of my green, polka-dotted traje de gitana takes ages, but my Spanish host madre insists that one must look one’s best at the feria.
I have bought a second-hand flamenco dress for the feria and, like a child playing dress-up in her mother’s clothes, feel ridiculously pleased to be wearing its ruffled sleeves and bright colors of green, orange, and white, with the traditional shawl tied in place over a tight bodice and an orange flower atop my knot of hair, in the style of the gypsy girls.
Plastic bangles complete the ensemble and will clatter when it comes time to raise and twist my arms in the movements of the sevillanas, the steps of which I’ve been practicing for weeks under the tutelage of a local girl from the university. She is one of many students in Seville who earn extra money by giving lessons to foreigners eager to learn the steps in time for Feria de Abril. Each dance is made up of four sequences of turns, crosses, and steps, with arms upraised continuously, hands snaking inward and out.
It is tricky to remember all the pasos of the dance and even harder to mimic the practised, nonchalant elegance of my instructor’s curling fingers, but after a few sessions I feel ready to join the throngs. Anticipation has been building for weeks.
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