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Photographer's Note

OLÉ!

I spent the twelve days, August 9-21, serving as a special interest lecturer on board Crystal Serenity’s Cruise #9317 . One would think that it would be difficult to identify a single event as the highlight on a cruise that visited ten Mediterranean ports — among them, Piraeus (Athens) and Nice (France), Civitavecchia (Rome) and Livorno (Florence)… But there was a truly memorable hour, and indeed it came on the last night of the cruise, when the ship was docked overnight in Barcelona.

Although my normal choice of music is manifestly classical, ever since I was a teenager I’ve harbored a fascination for the Spanish guitar, and moreso for the flamenco dance. Thus, when I had the opportunity to see a performance of a troupe of flamenco dancers in Spain, and right on the Ramblas in Barcelona, I seized it. I was ushered to a seat next to the stage and just a meter off the floor, and served the customary glass of Sangria. Then, to the accompaniment of hand-clapping singers and string-plucking guitarists, a shapely young flamenco dancer came out, her feet and castanets clattering, and “…oiled her way around the floor, oozing charm from every pore” (as Henry Higgins pronounced in the musical, ‘My Fair Lady’). Pure unadulterated poetry! For anyone who has a few minutes, I would recommend watching a performance of a flamenco dancer that I found on YouTube. In the growing archives of the YouTube site there is even a listing of this particular troupe and in this very same setting, Flamenco in Barcelona.

Cameras were allowed, so was the use of flash, but videotaping was not. Since the room was dark, I did use a fill flash with my Nikon D200. The dancer was close enough to me that the flash illuminated her, and very little else. In an accompanying diptych created from a pair of close-up shots one can see the intensity and passion in her face. However, since she was so close to me, and I was using an 18 mm lens, I could not save her right hand. I take solace from the fact that another Mediterranean beauty, Venus de Milo, was successful for 2400 years without hands or arms.

I am submitting this image in commemorating the anniversary of a meeting with José Pires (stego) with whom I spent a fabulous day traipsing along Las Ramblas exactly a year earlier.

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Additional Photos by Bulent Atalay (batalay) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6029 W: 457 N: 10442] (35129)
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