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In the Shoes of a World­ Class Dancer

Believe it or not, San Francisco is hands down the capital of flamenco in the United States. And native Cristina Hall, who has studied in Spain for 11 years, is one of the best anywhere. Catch her with Theatre Flamenco this month.

Cristina Hall.

The Shy Girl:
“I was kind of an outcast in high school. Flamenco found me. Even before I went to my first class, I knew I was going to be doing this for the rest of my life. I didn’t talk much, and flamenco became my language. It expresses any emotion you could feel.”

The Footwork:
“The feet are another instrument. The shoes are leather, with nails in the toe and heel. Audiences like to see a lot of fast, heavy moves, but it’s hard to make that interesting musically.”

The Lyrics:
“Even Spaniards don’t understand them a lot of times.”

The Hair Clip:
“It has really long teeth. Once the baggage-check workers at the airport were like, ‘This could be used as a weapon.’”

The Jitters:
“I get very nervous before any show. I start to forget the choreography; I have to pee a lot. It’s a good thing—it means you still have this respect for the art form.”

The Outfit:
“Ruffles and fuller skirts used to be the norm. Now you see a lot of polka dots. That comes from when poor women would patch the holes in their skirts with another color. I’m not a big polka-dot fan.”

The Hard Part:
“It’s so difficult to be still onstage—just to be. But the audience can’t appreciate what you’re doing if you’re constantly moving.”

Theatre Flamenco of San Francisco, Nov. 3 at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; Nov. 9-11 at Cowell Theater, S.F..