Gettin’ Happy, the Hard Way

Lately I’ve been obsessed with alegrias. This is odd because even though I’ve said I’ve never met a palo I didn’t like, if I had to choose a least favorite, it would be alegrias. Perhaps it’s the teenage goth in me, but it’s so much easier to connect with the tragic/angry rhythms. Whenever I’m dancing alegrias, I always feel a little off.

Aside from the challenge of dancing the happy dance with a heart of darkness, I feel like alegrias has a lot of “parts” to it, you know? It’s a lot to keep track of and it’s fast, and I find it exhausting. The alegrias solo I did a couple years ago was the most difficult thing I’ve done to date, I think, mentally and physically. I recall being very nervous and over-rehearsed to the point of being literally unable to lift my legs during the performance because my muscles were exhausted. Being out there alone with a dance that wiped me out and made me feel awkward was just … hard.

Still, I appreciate a good alegrias. The best I’ve seen was performed by Vanesa Coloma in Albuquerque in 2012 (I wrote this the night I saw it). Both great and hi-larious, in a very natural way, because of her charming and funny personality. I fantasize about being able to entertain an audience this way: to dazzle people while making them giggle.

But the happy dance is my biggest challenge. Funny, but true.

For this reason, I’ve become fixated on being able to better connect with alegrias. I’ve watched, listened, and tried to sing letras, all in an effort to find my happy place. Is it working? Maybe. I’ll let you know.

Does anyone else find alegrias weirdly difficult?


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