Festival Day 7: Nooooooooo!!!

It’s over. I’m so sad.

This day was a blur. As I type this from my couch in Los Angeles, it’s hard to believe that 12 hours ago I was shoving my puffy feet in my pretty pink Gallardos, wicked-stepsister style, getting ready for my final workshop with Pastora Galvan.

It was madness in Carlisle Gym today as flamenca/os scrambled to get to their final workshops (and videotape choreo!), buy last-minute souvenirs, snap photos, and say goodbye to friends. It was also open workshop day, where we were free to sit in on any class and watch.

A quick recap of my day:

1. I left Pastora’s class with a decent grasp of the choreography, which was exciting. I thought it was funny when she asked that only people who knew the choreo well be videotaped. All the lame people, myself included, were asked to sit that one out.

2. I really didn’t want to, but I ditched castanets so I could go watch Pastora’s other advanced class. All I can say is, holy crap! Had I ended up in that class, I’d have dropped out the first day and gone home crying. They covered a ton of material in seven days and there was a lot of fast footwork I could never handle. But it was obvious there were many professional-level dancers in that class, more than in mine. I think she slowed the pace in my class when she realized what she was working with. I lucked out.

3. My feet were pretty much shot days ago, and yesterday the area below the calf on my right leg, above the heel, has been hurting/burning. By the time I got to bata, I was done. I shed that pile of ruffles about 20 minutes before class was over and plopped myself on the sidelines. I felt guilty, hoping Olga didn’t think I was being lazy, but I had to listen to my broke-down body and rest. I recorded the cute choreography to practice at home, then ran out to catch the shuttle back to the hotel to collect my bags and head to the airport.

4. I’m bummed I missed the last gala show and festival after-party. Poor planning on my part. Now I know better.

5. I’m bummed I saw NONE of Albuquerque. I never had time! I didn’t allow myself meal breaks, let alone tourist time. Too bad because I hear it’s a charming and friendly city.

My bags are open on my living room floor because I’m too tired, too sore and too unmotivated to unpack them. I’m happy to be back in my humble home, but sad my adventure is over and that it’s time get back to who I am in real life. I hate to say this, but I thought about very little when I was away. I was focused on dancing — not work, not boys, not stupid things that I usually waste time worrying about. Being around so many flamencos — dancers, singers, musicians — of all ages, all races, all nationalities, and all skill levels, I felt like I was among my people, you know? Of course, that’s the way I feel when I go to Rina’s class, but it’s more intense and wonderful when you have that feeling literally 24/7.

I’ve got thoughts that aren’t yet fully processed; I’m sure I’ll be writing more about my experience in the coming weeks, once I can make sense of everything. But I will close with this: I loved it all and would do it again in a gypsy heartbeat.


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