We had the good fortune of connecting with Fanny Ara and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fanny, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
“Dance is music made visible” by George Balanchine And “the body says what words cannot” by Martha Graham Those two quotes resume why i chose dance to be my life. I was always a musician; I went for more than a decade to the conservatory of music playing piano. I also took theater classes….. but something was missing. I wanted to have a creative way to express myself fully. I think those two quotes resume this desire very well. Dance has been my life from a very young age and is what has kept me sane. I wouldn’t know how to express myself in any other way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a flamenco dancer. Flamenco is from Spain. Already deciding to be a flamenco dancer, coming from France, and now living in the States, I knew it was going to be hard to make a career out of it, But at the very beginning of my career i decided to be true to myself. So i decided to explore this art from with the eyes of a french girl, living in San Francisco. Which means, breaking the traditional way of dancing and looking at this art form. it was a very difficult choice to make, but the only one i would be comfortable with, and the only one i thought i could and would do. in doing so, i kept on being who I really am, and not trying to imitate what i see, or trying to be someone i am not. i wanted to have an unique voice, that was always my goal. What i have learned early, is by being who I am, i was going to be unique. sounds easy to do, but by being vulnerable and just completely open about your way of creating and dancing, you are scared to be judged, or even to insult the art form itself. I decided to take flamenco as a language, not as a whole. And surprisingly my way of dancing, which as i said was mostly my way of communicating emotions ,was heard and understood by many. Because I was myself, a lot of students and fellow dancers could relate to what I was creating. One of the most memorable moment i have lived through dance was when i travelled around the world teaching a piece i created talking about my very personal journey through abuse. The fact that i was open to talk about it, and again, this is through dance, i could open that conversation for many. For some reason, through that choreography ,a lot of students, from any country , started opening up about what they went through, Dance is therapy, I am sure of it. And i witnessed it many times. I think it is our responsibility to make sure dancers feel comfortable telling their stories, and just let go of their daily life once they enter the studio. Being a dance teacher has taught me so much. But also showed me how much responsibility i have stepping in those workshops. Being a performer is different, you are vulnerable, in front of the audience, improvising, and just being ‘naked’ in front of many. but the real revelation for me was through teaching. Seeing the progress in students, but also the personal transformation of all of them in front of your eyes, at that very same moment, because they felt safe around you. It is absolutely magical. The way I look at challenges: i love challenges, it makes you know your strength and work on your weaknesses. It also teaches you to be humble but also compassionate with yourself. the biggest lesson i have learned is to never give up. Work hard, it pays off. Never stop being humble. Never stop learning. Keep being inspired by the greatest, open your mind with every culture, listen, and don’t judge, And also, as I have seen many talented artists stop trying, never think there is competition is Art. Many want to be the best, have an ambition that is clouded by wanting to break people to get higher. This is such a mistake. Art is felt differently by everyone, you cannot expect for everyone to understand or like your work. But always try to be the best version of yourself, and keep on trying. Even if you think you can’t reach that goal. Competition is for sport, not art.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
oh,,,,,, i would definitely bring them to my favorite bar “Van Kleef” in Oakland, drink fresh greyhounds and then across the street they sell amazing shawarmas. That would be a great time, and a night to remember!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Yes! Catalina Gommes. My first dance teacher. My first mentor, my first inspiration. She will always represent why i chose that path.
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Steve Johnson Timo Nunez Fred Aube Sr Puig Esteban Tucci