On April 18, 2013, I gave a bullfighting presentation to the Spanish students, members the Spanish Club, at Mount de Sales Academy, a catholic private school for girls, located in Catonsville, Maryland.
The theme of my presentation was to clarify the meaning of the word "bullfighting", not to preach the greatness of the Spanish fiesta brava, nor to make converts, but to give the English word "bullfighting" the same meaning that the equivalent Spanish term "toreo" possesses, so the listeners can infer how another culture feels about the subject.
To accomplish this, I first explained why bullfighting it is not considered a sport in the Spanish culture, as the English word "bullfighting" states---fighting a bull. I pointed out that a person weighing about 150 pounds would have to be insane to fight a 1,200 pound beast. The objective of the bullfighter is, in fact, the opposite: to avoid a brutal confrontation by using the human attributes of intelligence, grace, and elegance. Therefore, the aficionados perceive bullfighting as an artistic expression similar to the dance. Secondly, I supported this fact with reasons and examples. Then I gave my definition of bullfighting as a type of dramatic ballet dance with death, in which the bullfighter must control his movements maintaining the rhythm, not of music, but rather of danger. And I emphasized the existing major difference between dancing and bullfighting, since on stage, a faux-pas means an interruption of artistic flow. On the other hand, in the bullfighting arena, a mistake could mean the death of the star of this drama. Between the bullfighter and the bull there should always be a relationship based on the distance. This plastic art form is based on the fact that the matador's dexterity makes him the creator and master of this relationship, instead of allowing the bull a chance to take command.
I ended the presentation with a demonstration of bullfighting. I recreated passes with cape and muleta, and at the same time I answered questions from the audience.
A few days after the presentation I was surprised by reading the following article about my visit, written by a student in the school bulletin, posted on line. It was illustrated by the accompanying photo:
Bullfighter visits Spanish Students
Mr. Mario Carrion, a retired bullfighter visited MDS Spanish students in Mrs. Dudley's class. Mr. Carrion was born in Seville, Spain and comes from a family of bullfighters. He was a bullfighter for ten years and fought in Spain, France, Portugal, and countries in Latin America. He told the students that he spent three hours getting ready for a bullfight because of all the layers of clothes he needed. He brought his “capote,”cape and showed the girls how to "fight" a bull. "It's really more like "playing" with a bull, because a 150 pound man cannot "fight" a 1200 pound animal. You need to always be one step ahead of the bull.
“Being a matador is like being a monk because both require a life of discipline
and commitment,” said Mr. Carrion who was injured 12 times with scars to prove
Mr. Carrion moved to Baltimore in 1960 when he was 27. He is married and has two grown children. He lives in Ellicott City and plays tennis three times a week to stay fit. After he retired from bullfighting he taught Spanish in Baltimore County and in several colleges for thirty years.
Check out his website at: http://www.carrionmundotoreo.com/
-Emily Saia, 13