My New Bata

  can’t remember how long I have had my old bata – probably about 7 years. I remember the excitement when I got it. I used to look longingly at the people studying bata de cola in the studios in Dance Attic in Fulham, so getting my own and being able to learn was especially good. Learning bata de cola is as good as doing an hour in the gym – it is very strenuous. However I did feel that it should be easier than it actually felt with the old one.

I love bata de cola and as I said was longing to learn for a long time. I was fortunate that the one I bought was relatively inexpensive as batas go – probably about 350 euros since it had been made for someone and then not actually taken by them.

So as part of the legacy from my mother’s estate after her death last year I bought a new one made to measure for me. My teacher Beatriz Morales recommended that I went to Pili Cordero one of the best Bata de Cola seamstresses there is. Her client list reads as a who’s who of the flamenco dance world. She has a basement studio in Seville which is exceptionally difficult to find. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to go with Beatriz when she went there for a fitting, so I had to brave the Seville road system on my own. I was very proud of myself when I actually made it. I find the Seville road system tricky and the last time I had been in the car was with my daughter Lucy and we got hopelessly lost and ended up screaming at each other.

The atelier is an enormous space with about 6 sewing machines around the edge. There is a big space in the middle and lots of bata de colas hanging up on the walls. You know a master or mistress of their craft – especially dress making when they measure up quickly. I hadn’t a clue (well a little) of what I was asking for – did I want 3, 4 or 5 frills? What fabric did I want? I was pretty sure on the colour since Marta had asked me to get white and red. So it was with some trepidation that I gave the instructions – 4 frills and chose the fabric. When I went back I immediately fell in love. The bata fitted perfectly and ‘flew’. I could now practise with it in the big space of Pili’s atelier and immediately loved it. I dance well in it and it has made an enormous difference to my dancing. It falls exactly in the right place and rises to a lovely curve with the red frills ‘flying’ round.

So since it took me ages to post this I have given my new bata de cola its debut on the big stage of the Teatro Villamarta. We will be dancing the Alegrías taught to us by Marta de Troya in our Saturday classes.  Marta is currently teaching in Japan, but like Beatriz Morales had come out of the Centro de Baile ‘cuña’ or cradle. My pride in dancing on the Teatro Villamarta stage in my new bata de cola I have to say is immense!

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