Top 10 Flamenco-related Happenings of 2014

Happy New Year! Yes, it’s Jan. 7 already, but hey, don’t judge me. Since my tradition is to put out a top 10 list for the outgoing year, here’s mine for 2014. Yes, I should have posted it a week ago, but I was caught up in an amazing first trip to San Francisco and had better things to do than sit in front of a computer. Better late than never, right?

10. I got a new dress. Hey, fashion is important to me. I really love my new dress! Love the color, love the style, love that it makes me feel like a pretty girl. I also love the lady who made it. She’s talented and a sweetheart. Thanks, Maria!

9. New connections. I’ve made many friends through the dance network in L.A., but also via this blog. It amazes me when someone from another state or country writes to tell me they’ve found my blog and are enjoying it because they are having the same experience with this crazy dance. I’m so glad to hear from all of you, and I sincerely appreciate your support.

8. “She’s a dancer …” More than once this year, my man, a talented painter, introduced me to friends and fellow artists as a dancer. It seems like such a simple thing, but I can’t tell you how much this filled my heart with joy. “I’m a painter … she’s a dancer.” Isn’t that lovely? So much better than, “I’m a painter … she makes web pages at a school.” It made me feel like he appreciates my dedication to this dance and that he sees me the way I want to see myself.

7. Opportunities. I’m so grateful to Rina for offering opportunities to perform — it’s always an honor to be invited. One thing I took part in this year was a benefit for a local organization, Helping the Homeless Help Themselves. Dance experience AND giving back WHILE hanging out with some of my best friends? Can’t say no to that!

6. I turned 40. How is this flamenco related? Age seems like SUCH an obstacle when you begin flamenco in your mid/late 30s. I remember thinking, “But I’m almost 40! How can I possibly TRY to learn all of this NOW?!” Ugh, what a dumb way of thinking. I see that now, especially this year. There are so many other dancers I know who either began at the same age or older, or have been dancing 20 or 30 years longer than I’ve been on this earth and are still kicking ass. Turning 40 brought me a weird sense of peace and motivation.

5. The Meltdown/Fallout. So you’re probably thinking, “Oh no she DIDN’T …!” But yes, I am placing this series of events on the list. Not because it was one of the best things that happened (far from it), but it was certainly significant. (Read the posts about them here and here). Shook me up hard and almost took me out of the game, until …

4. Along comes J.T. If it weren’t for Juan Talavera, I might still be on the couch while my shoes collect dust in a closet. (Read post about J.T here). I could have taken months off or more if he hadn’t offered me a rare opportunity; luckily I took him up on it! (And thanks, Victoria for the recommendation!). Having this phenomenal artist who didn’t know me tell me I’m good enough to be in his show was just what I needed to get back on my feet.

3. I go to WERK! Working with J.T and the rest of the cast over the last couple of months, in a different environment, has been really good for me, I think. I’m used to working only with Rina, so it’s interesting to see another artistic director’s method and perspective. Plus, he’s a man and that puts a whole different spin on things too. He’s fun and I’m learning so much! Most of all I’ve learned that even though I’m being challenged and I’m out of the safety zone of my O.G. Torrance crew, I’m not a bad little dancer. Yes … I can do this! I AM doing this! I love doing this! Come to the show in March!

2. My friends in flamenca sisterhood. I say it every year, because every year it continues to hold true. My flamencas (my classmates and teacher) are MY PEOPLE. They are funny, quirky, and supportive and I admire them all in different ways. I can’t imagine going through this flamenco thing without them. (So, yes, Rina, I’ll be back soon.)

1. I bought a house! Wha?! I know, right?! It’s crazy. I didn’t think it would happen so soon, but it did, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. What does this have to do with the dance? Everything. I now have my own little dance studio! It’s what I’ve dreamed of for years now. Now, I still have to put down a proper floor and put mirrors on the walls, but I have a real space dedicated to dance. No more complaining that our usual studio space is unavailable, too expensive to rent by the hour, or too inconvenient to get to. Now I get to walk a few steps out my backdoor, anytime day or night, and go to work. This is HUGE! How’s that for way to wrap up 2014?!