Live life – Carolyn Holden’s last lesson she wants to teach?

Carolyn 2

Photo: La Rosa facebook

Today’s post is not about a recipe for food, but perhaps more of a recipe for life.

The afternoon of 4 April a mentor, teacher and dear friend Carolyn Holden (Carolina Rosa) or Caro passed away suddenly, at the young age of 50.

I attended the memorial service today and could not think of anything else to do other than putting pen to paper.  This in the hope to try and understand, but mostly share why she’s made such an impression on everyone’s life.  The service was a celebration of her life.  Fittingly held at The Baxter and it was yet again a packed house, like so many of the La Rosa performances.  However, this time it wasn’t packed with those elated to see another La Rosa show, but to say goodbye to this unbelievable woman. I’m not listing her accolades, but rather want to share my thoughts.

Even though some of us have not been dancing for La Rosa for a while and the youngsters have stepped in, you can’t take away what’s been shared.  When you spend this amount of time together as dancers, in such an emotional dance form as Flamenco, you share a kinship that very few people will understand.  Those hours that you rehearse together, travel together and perform night after night, run after run, changes the way you look at the person next to you on the stage.  You know everything of that person’s life and what’s more, their deepest emotions.  You can’t hide from the emotions when you are part of Flamenco.  It is all about the duende and the passion. Flamenco dancers and partners become your family.  They see the blood, sweat and tears and feel your emotions as much as you do sometimes.  There are no half measures when it comes to flamenco. Therefore each one of us that at some point shared the stage with Caro, feel our grief in a different way.

CarolynFor each one of us there is a story behind our time with Caro.  She made a difference in so many of our lives. Inevitably she ended up teaching each one of us more than just the steps.  She taught us to truly explore our emotions and talents as dancers and musicians.  You could never hide in a corner when you were part of La Rosa. And you could never do anything, other than your best.  She had the ability to see each person’s talent and then developed it with you. And she never gave up, but would keep on pushing you, until you achieved what she knew you could.

She was absolutely dedicated to the art and wanted to make a difference. Today someone quoted Mahatma Ghandi’s famous “Be the difference in the world you want to see.”  Caro epitomises that in so many ways.  She made the difference, with everything she set out to do for Flamenco. She never went to lie down or gave up.  She just kept going.

She was taken too soon, yet in her time here she left a legacy and would’ve kept making that difference. She was always constantly working at it.  However, I think there is one last lesson we can learn from her passing and that is that Life is too short.

So why not remember:  Things are never as complicated as you might think.  Don’t sweat the small stuff, so sort it out when it’s needed and go on. Do not take anything for granted.  If you’ve been promising to do something that fulfils you, do it now. If you haven’t told your loved ones that you love them, do so now.  If you’ve longed to do something that makes a difference, grab that moment now.  And laugh.  One of the things Caro was so well known for was her sense of humour and there was always a laugh, even when we had tears.

So my simple recipe today is something for life

Love with all your heart

Tell people how you feel

Be there for your friends and loved ones

Laugh till your stomach hurts

Grab each day

Live your dream

And above all, live life

And when the final Farruca was danced at the end of the memorial, I could almost see Caro standing next to Loreán Swartz doing palmas and already working on the next show.

Strength and light to all Caro’s loved ones.

5 thoughts on “Live life – Carolyn Holden’s last lesson she wants to teach?

  1. Wow agreed on these wise words. I had the opportunity to spend time with this extraordinary lady… Carolyn was a teacher and a person that made you want to do what you have not done before. Cath thanks for reminding us about the important things that make us happy.

  2. Tonight… I am stunned after accidently stumbling upon Carolyn’s photo (taken by me) and obituary on the LaRosa website while Googling a missing photo of mine… Absolute sad. What a WONDERFUL woman she was, superbly friendly and warm… when I first met and photographed her on the quickie Artscape staircase ‘studio’ I McGyvered. Each and every shot I took came out perfect… the soft luchtime sun enhancing her marvelous glow…

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