On our first presentation of Con La Fuerza De Mi Madre in Portland Or

A few weeks have past since we’ve returned to Boise from Portland. The whole crew sleepy but inspired and touched by all of the family and friends old and new we spent time with last week.

The Con La Fuerza De Mi Madre project in Portland was intense, but beautiful, cathartic yet very healing for Luis-I’ve never seen anyone work out their grief on stage in such a raw but powerful way. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Luis and I, Luis’ mother passed away right after we were married this past winter. Her passing came as a great shock to us and because Luis was waiting for his Green Card papers to be accepted, we were unable to leave the country to be with the family and say our final good byes. During our time of loss Luis wrote a Flamenco Theatre piece dedicated to his mother Luisa. He went a step further and decided to present it to Portland as a project that advocates Flamenco Arts Education in the community.

We feel the week spent in Portland putting together the final pieces of the show was like making it thru an intense journey-with the passing of Luis’ mother-still a fresh wound on our hearts-the rehearsals were both emotional and inspiring.

Siguiriya: Luis de La Tota, Mitsue ‘La Pura’, Junco, La Ichi, & Shiho
Siguiriyas Luis de La Tota & Mitsue La Pura

There were times when the sadness was too thick inside the rehearsals. Presenting this show meant reliving the loss of my mother-in-law and seeing the frustration and pain in Luis’ eyes when we knew he could not return home to see his mother put to eternal rest made it challenging for Luis and I both. We appreciate the patience from the cast, and the tenderness and respect with which they interpreted the Siguiriyas.

Mitsue ‘La Pura’ Johnson amazed us all with her ability to take on the role of Luis’ mother with grace strength and (true to her stage name) purity. Luis is especially grateful to her fearless dedication to the show. One week is not alot of time to put together a show of this caliber folks–Mitsue took on quite the challenge and in the end proved her talent and arte as a flamenco dancer.

Tangos Con La Fuersa de Mi Madre

We felt uplifted by the Tangos-which brought life back to Luisa (Luis’ mother) and celebrated the birth of our son. The bubbling energy  of the group dancers Shiho, Miyuki, and Junco and the grace in which they danced  the tender glow of Mitsue’s baile reminded us all to continue to celebrate life.

Mark Ferguson and Luis por Bulerías

Mark Ferguson was the ‘Iron Guitarist’ rehearsing with Luis from 8a til 10pm at night–how his hands made it thru the week without turning into nubs instead of fingers is a miracle!!!!

Juan Sefardí and Cast

We are grateful to all of the artists that showed up and worked there flamenco heels off to get this project off the ground. As well as those that traveled to Portland like Juan Sefardí who’s Flamenco Fusion song ‘En Jerez’ got the audience dancing with us. We are proud of how well this show came together against all odds, we hope to share it again!

Entire Cast

We are grateful for all of the support and energy put in by the Portland Flamenco community- Shiho Mitsue, Junco, Miyuki, Dick Winegar, Mark Ferguson and Chris Johnson!!!

Next Joint production from Escuela de Ritmo and NW Flamenco Collective: Noches Flamenco in Boise,ID June 23rd and July 7th at 7:30p!

All Photos pictured in this blog courtesy of Chris and Mitsue of Solo Flamenco Studios, Portland Or

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