Find your duende
It’s an untranslatable concept that can mean many things, but for Abigail Whyte, it’s about nding a natural high and soulful connection
When I was at a music festival a few years ago, I met a amenco dancer. She was the rst person I ever heard utter the phrase “ nding my
duende.” She told me that duende is a word strongly associated with amenco, describing the intensity of emotion that overcomes the dancer in the throes of a performance. Watch any amenco video on YouTube and you’ll see that palpable ecstasy; the almost desperate look on the dancer’s face as she clicks her castanets and sends a cloud of dust into the air with a stamp of her foot.
Duende is a word that has struck a chord with me ever since, and I’ve often looked it up to get to the bottom of its meaning. It’s one of those untranslatable words that can mean many things, but I take it to mean that feeling of euphoria; that natural high and soulful connection we get when we’re doing something we love, particularly something artistic. Federico
Garcia Lorca describes the word beautifully in his book,
In Search of Duende: “The duende is a momentary burst of inspiration, the blush of all that is truly alive…” Alive. Sure, we’re all alive, but in our technology-charged world of sitting at desks in front of computer screens for eight hours a day, how often do we truly feel it?
Zoe Mason and Rebecca Hanscombe are the founders of Wild Chocolate Club (www. wildchocolateclub.com) – an ecstatic dance club where participants drink a cup of raw cacao before they begin moving to music with wild abandon. The feeling their participants experience is the epitome of duende. “The raw cacao opens up your heart, makes you feel beautiful and ready to dance, and then we just let go. We let go of our masks and allow our true selves to shine,” they explain.