On Healthy Delusions

Rina Orellana
My teacher, Rina Orellana, April 21, 2013.

Sunday afternoon I took in some live (and lively!) flamenco at Rina’s Feria de Abril show. Even got to show my Spanish spirit by dressing in up in Feria attire — albeit my low-budget, South Bay interpretation of such — and dancing Sevillanas with my best friends at the end. How fun!

Watching a flamenco show always gets my wheels spinning. Now, I’ve already said here many times that I’m the queen of the daydreamers. I can daydream the hell out of anything that intrigues me — like being a rock star playing sold-out stadiums, being the host of Saturday Night Live, or in this case, being a highly skilled and captivating lead dancer in a flamenco show. But as I always say, I have dreams, not delusions. I’m still grounded enough to know the limitations of my circumstances, physical or otherwise. Could my sensibilities be holding me back?

I’ve always approached this flamenco thing like, “I’ll never be that good, but I do it because I love it … it’s exercise … I like the music… want to challenge myself…blah… blah…blah.” That’s all fine, but I DO want to improve and get good. And for me, I don’t think I can get to that next level without tricking myself into it: Go into every class, ever rehearsal, as if I’m preparing for a professional career.

Of course there’s a fine line here. I don’t want to become one of those people who suck the fun out of everything because they take themselves way too seriously. GROSS. But having the “this is Julliard and I’m here for a reason” mentality might not be a bad thing. It’s like playing into a fantasy, but one that might actually yield results.

I’m in a very weird place right now. I’m coming up on five years of flamenco in September and I’m turning 40 next January. I guess this is my way of recapturing the spirit and drive I had when I was a 14-year-old drill team captain practicing for competitions and believing that I would be a dancer (or professional performer of some sort) when I grew up. I wasn’t thinking “Oh, I’m just doing this for fun.” No, I had goals. Anything was possible. So why shouldn’t it be that way now?


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