Top 10 best things about learning flamenco dance in 2013

ImageOk, people, so a combination of fatigue, illness and a general need to be anti-social have kept me from blogging, but not from my love of the dance. Here’s my top 10 of the year:

10.  Reaching a milestone of five years of flamenco. I wouldn’t have believed in 2008 that I’d be this invested in this five years later. And despite my public absence over the last couple of months, I assure you this flamenca is still in the game.

9.  New dress, y’all! Made by my favorite designer/seamstress, Maria, of course! I swear, her dresses make me a better dancer.

8.  My improved relationship with my bata. It’s still difficult dancing with that thing, but I feel much stronger at it than I was a year ago. I might even love it a little bit.

7.  A better understanding of cante structure. If my Spanish weren’t so lacking, I think I might be able to sing a little for my friends in class. So feel free to send me words to some simple letras with accompanying audio for reference, will ya?

6.  Watching incredible performances in Albuquerque: Karime Amaya, Ivan Vargas, Marco Flores, Israel Galvan and their companies. Watching dancers of their caliber in person is both moving and motivating.

5. Meeting my Canadian friends face to face, finally!! Flamenco brings people together; I’d have never met the very awesome Cyrena & Elvira without it. **Oh gosh! And as a late addition, I MUST add the homegirl Catherine, who is not Canadian, but who I was so happy to meet and who was a HUGE part of my experience! How could I forget? Good God, I’m old. Sorry, C. Will you please friend me on Facebook so that I can see you every day like my Canadian friends? Geez!**

4. Having a very special guy in the audience cheering me on at our show and always listening as I blather on and on about my flamenco adventures/misadventures.

3. Having a phenomenal teacher who after 5 years, continues to amaze me with her skill, patience and ability to turn once-scared, awkward students (some of us are/were, anyway) into strong dancers.

2.  Being in class with amazing ladies who continue to crack me up and are more like sisters than classmates.

1.  Experiencing my second Albuquerque flamenco festival with my brother, who is both my best friend and my biggest supporter, and maybe even a future dancer. I love that he wanted to share this with me, and that he has developed an interest in and respect for the art form I love so much. Watching him take his first flamenco steps was the highlight of my year.

2 thoughts on “Top 10 best things about learning flamenco dance in 2013

  1. Hey Marissa! So happy to see your new blog post! I also passed my 5 year mark with flamenco this year. I hit a wall back in September though – tendonitis in my right shoulder made everything painful. I know I messed that shoulder up when I was first doing a siguiriya choreo with the manton, and I have a feeling that that tied with the fact that I use the stupid mouse at work all day with my right arm/hand finally put me over the edge. I went to PT for the tendonitis, and then ended up doing some stretch that reaggravated an old injury from high school. argh! My sternoclavicular joint (where collarbone meets sternum) is partially separated. It happened spontaneously when I was in 11th grade – I don’t remember being hit or tackled and did not play sports. Ever since, it sort of sits a little uneven from the left side (most people don’t notice unless I point it out). For the most part it hasn’t given me any trouble, but for some reason this time it just doesn’t seem to want to settle back down. I had to miss a couple of performances because of it.

    A month or 2 before all this happened, I started taking a Bollywood aerobics class (dancing is the only way I can stay in shape since i hate running, the gym, etc.)! The instructor grew up in Bombay and she’s super nice and very talented. I recruited one of my old bellydance friends to join the class, so it’s been fun seeing her again and pulling some of my old tribal accessories out of the closet.

    I’ve been dying to know if Nick took any flamenco classes after the festival this year!? He seemed pretty excited, although also got a good reality check about how challenging it is! I’m so glad I got to meet both of you this summer (and your other friends) – definitely made my festival experience a lot more fun and memorable!  I was so sad though to hear about Ricardo having a stroke (he’s too young!) and then the NIF building burning down a couple of weeks ago. I hope that’s the end of the disasters for those people!

    Take care and hope 2014 brings great things! Catherine



    1. Catherine!! Hi!! After I saw this, I immediately amended my post by adding you to my list — how could I forget to add you?!?! I sure did have fun with you — I’ll never forget our photoshoot with the elk balls in the hotel lobby and how we cracked up! haha! PLEASE friend me on Facebook (unless I friend you first) so that I can see you all the time (at least virtually) like I do Cyrena & Elvira.

      I am sooo sorry to hear about the injuries. Ouch! I’ve definitely had some injuries that kept me sidelined for a couple of months and it sucks. Sending you good healing vibes! Bollywood sounds like a blast. I’ve never taken it, but it looks like fun!

      Nick took one class with Rina a couple months back — it was supposed to be a new beginners class, but unfortunately she had to cancel it because she had only two students. I encouraged him to look for another beginners class, but he really wants to learn with Rina. He’s pretty busy with grad school anyway, so he’s in no rush. But I’m sure if she has another newbie class, he’ll be there!

      Yes, such a tragedy about Ricardo and then the institute. What terrible fortune they’ve had. Praying they pull through and come back stronger.

      Happy New Year, my friend!



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