That was my beginning in the dance, playing sevillanas in a garage in my town, Algodonales, with no schools, no peñas, no flamenco background, in a place with a cement floor which garlic strings hanging from the ceiling. Following the steps that my teacher taught me to the sound of her mother's washing machine.
Later I began my dance studies in the Coros y Danzas de Ronda, forty kilometres away from home, where every Friday I took the bus behind my father's back. While he thought I was doing extracurricular activities, my mother would give me 1,000 pesetas and say to me "Fran, be very careful, son" and off I went, with my backpack full of illusions.
Entering that school was, at that age, like being in an amusement park, everything that happened in those rooms seemed marvelous to me, there was classical ballet, folklore, Spanish dance and flamenco. Flamenco was my choice as it was moving me.
Years later I could study with renowned teachers in Jerez and Seville, classes that I paid for with the money earned teaching girls and women (not boys, since dancing was only for girls) to dance sevillanas, rumbas and the four steps that I knew. We danced in flamenco clubs and in fairs in the villages around and I managed everything on my own with the ignorance of the unexperienced but with the certainty that I wanted to be an artist... and from here everything started...
At 17 I went on holiday to Barcelona with three friends and two curricula under my arm, one intended for the Tablao Cordobés and the other for the Tablao del Carmen. All I knew about them was from the flamenco magazines of the time.
There I showed up to deliver this writings.
Either because of my enthusiasm or thanks to the paragraph on that paper saying "first prize in the Tanguillos de Cádiz dance competition" that Milagros de Vargas, the dancer and artistic director of the tablao Cordobés, liked me and soon I started working in that house, which became my school for the following 6 years.
I settled in Seville with the desire to continue learning and working in the tablaos. This city taught me the fundamental pillars of flamenco dance. Living here, and constantly traveling to Barcelona, gave me the opportunity to dance in the tablaos every night. Those spaces allowed me to dance as a soloist and there I was able to try myself, make mistakes, find new sensations, understand the structures, have fun and also get angry when something didn't go the way I wanted.
Tablaos such as the aforementioned Cordobés in Barcelona, Los Gallos, El Arenal and Casa Carmen in Seville and later, Casa Patas, Café de Chinitas, Las Tablas or Corral de la Moreria in Madrid have gradually made me discover the strengths and weaknesses of my body to understand my needs and make sense of that artistic personality that was always around my head.
Between tablao and tablao tours came. Performances in peñas and flamenco festivals and invitations to participate in other artists' projects. The first time I got on a plane was to go on tour with a concert guitarist to Macedonia, and despite the 19 hours that lasted the trip, I was immensely happy to arrive at the Ohrid Summer Festival!
It was the time of professional competitions, which helped me to make myself known, gain experience and also the occasional stick that made me put my feet on the ground to continue studying and working.
The summer flamenco festivals gave me the most adrenaline rush due to the respect and demand of the public. I really enjoyed dancing in festivals such as the Festival de Cante Grande de Ronda, El Festival de la Serrana or El Festival de La Guitarra de Marchena, Las Jornadas Flamencas de la Fortuna, Festival de Avignon, Festival Tío Luis de la Juliana de Madrid, or Las Nuits Flamencas de Châteauvallon.
As I continued to grow as an artist, dance gave me wings that opened my mind, as I traveled halfway around the world.