redbuleriasI usually try to wait till the end of the month to do my top 10 of the year, but given my schedule lately, I thought it would be best to do it while I had the chance. So here goes:

10. It’s helped me maintain my sense of humor through some craptastic life episodes. I can’t complain about my life because all in all, I’m super blessed. Nevertheless, sometimes things happen (or don’t happen) that make me feel like, “Seriously? F%&*!” I had a few bad days and some realizations that left me feeling defeated. But I can never stay bummed out for more than a day or two because as soon as I stomp out the bad feelings on that wooden floor, my mood changes. After a good sweat, I’m relieved and at peace. Maybe even joyful.

9. It’s sparked a flood of creativity. This year in particular, I’m getting all kinds of ideas for other artistic projects, as well as new thoughts on what I really want to do with this dance thing. Stay tuned.

8. I got a sexy new dress. It’s the one I’m wearing in the picture. I love the color and it fits like a dream (thank you, Maria!). Wearing it made me feel confident — and a little bit hot. What woman doesn’t enjoy that?

7. I’m in better shape now than I’ve ever been. I said this last year, too. I felt great then but this year I feel ridiculously amazing. But I unintentionally lost 10 lbs. and in doing so I found my ideal weight. It’s positively affected my stamina for sure.

6. I got some unexpected recognition. Kudos from my teacher, friends and family means the world, but there’s something special about receiving compliments from folks you barely know. It’s like, here’s this person who has nothing invested in me, but they thought enough of what I did to come tell me. It’s very uplifting.

5. I celebrated a solo breakthrough/victory.  If you had told me 2 years ago that I’d be performing a solea solo, I’d have called you nuts. But I did it in September and on a bad leg, no less. That performance was significant on two levels: I felt surprisingly comfortable with the musicians and I was not nervous about the dance at all. I was nervous about my calf muscle tearing mid-dance, but I wasn’t nervous about the dance itself. This is a first for me. I’m usually a wreck. I hope it wasn’t a fluke.

4. I attended my first ever Festival Flamenco internacional de Albuquerque. What an experience. I spent five hours a day in classes for seven straight days, which left me exhausted, hungry, bruised and swollen. I studied with Olga Pericet and Pastora Galvan. I saw phenomenal performances every night. I took my first cante class and loved it. I met people from all over the world. It was fantastic.

3. I was inspired to take up flamenco guitar. I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar but sure didn’t expect to ever take up flamenco guitar. But here I am, six months in, completely in love with my instrument and kind of shocked that I can even play a few little things on it. I’m grateful to have an instructor who stays on my ass about practicing (even if I do complain about it). I really do appreciate his encouragement and patience.

2. My teacher kicks so much ass. OK, so number 1 & 2 on this list are basically the same every year, who are we kidding. But my teacher really does kick ass. She’s such a strong yet pretty, graceful dancer. And she’s just cool people. I have learned so much from her — oh wait, actually, I’ve learned pretty much everything from her because aside from workshops in Albuquerque, I’ve never taken classes with anyone else. I think I know a lot given I’ve studied for only four years. And that’s all because of her.

1. My flamencas, my friends. My classmates and my teacher are my people, you know? We’re all so different, yet so similar in our love for this dance. We’re supportive and encouraging of each other. Plus we’re all quirky and funny as hell in our own ways. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by friends on this crazy artistic journey.


- Top 10 of 2011

- Top 10 of 2010