By Daniel Luque
Malaga, SPain, Jan 21 (EFE).- The ‘Castañuelas rosas’ flamenco school in Malaga is providing therapy to women with chronic diseases through music, dance and a supportive community.
The women, some more in pain than others, draw strength from wherever they can to be able to make it to their weekly date. Now they are not only united by the pain of their respective illnesses, but also by their passion for music and a deep friendship forged in flamenco bars, known in Andalucia as ‘tablaos’.
The El Pimpi Foundation project, which celebrates its first anniversary in February, has both cultural and charitable objectives: to offer an activity to women who are suffering similar illness or pain and “to perpetuate the Andalusian tradition”, manager Rocío González tells Efe.
SOLIDARITY THROUGH DANCE
To set up the group, the Foundation reached out to local associations that provide care and treatment for women suffering from cancer, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus and Parkinson’s.
The idea behind the flamenco school came about thanks to dance teacher Alicia Vicario, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Aware of her ailment, she decided to make an appeal so that other women like her could improve their quality of life through physical exercise and feel a sense of community.
Some 35 students take part in the workshops, which are held on Tuesday afternoons and Friday mornings in Malaga. Some miss classes due to medical appointments or pain that prevents them from getting out of bed.
PAIN SUBSIDES, SMILES ARE BORN
Loli, the youngest member of the group, suffered from breast cancer and has not yet been fully discharged. She tells Efe that attending the school is “a delight” that makes her “forget about the pain”. She says that the pain has subsided and that dancing and “fun” are very good for the body and mind.
Marisol is one of the latest additions to the school and an example that, with tenacity and effort, you can get ahead. Thanks to the project, she is recovering from severe depression caused by fibromyalgia and breast cancer she suffered a few years ago and is now “happier” and more eager to leave the house.
Another woman named Loli, Godoy, tells Efe with tears in her eyes of how dance has always been her passion and that the school has allowed her to cope with the breast and bladder cancer diagnoses, saying joining the school is “the best decision” she could have made.
This group of women – ranging in age from 45 to 65 – laugh, joke, hug and confide in each other, cementing the strong bond forged in less than a year since the project started.
Despite their aches and pains, they demonstrate their skill with the castanets and their coordination and mobility when dancing flamenco.They are directed by teacher Alba Aguilar, a 25-year-old who is aware that fatigue is a factor for this group of women, who rest or drink water after one or more choreographies. Some complain, others sit down. However, they all return to the dance floor to move on and continue dancing. EFE