Top 10 things about learning flamenco dance in 2010

10. I now have something to write about. I always wanted to start a blog but I didn’t have anything particularly unique or interesting to write about. I mean, I’m not sure how many folks find my blog interesting, but at the very least, it’s fun for ME. I’ve missed writing for me and now I feel like I have a reason to do it again.

9. It’s been a welcome distraction from dumb boys. I didn’t go on a single date in 2010. Not one. No one asked. I didn’t even meet anyone or give out my number. You’d think I’d be bitter, right? I’m not. I barely thought about it. Meeting someone wasn’t even on my list of goals for the year. I didn’t care. (Hmmm, maybe this is an issue in itself. We’ll revisit this later…)

8. I now have a legitimate excuse to buy dresses and shoes. I used to be a shopaholic in my 20s. I love fashion. In my 30s I realized I could not afford to keep up my habit, so I curtailed my shopping trips and cut down on the amount I spent on my wardrobe. With the dance, I now MUST buy expensive dresses and shoes sometimes. I mean, I NEED them, right? Now I can satisfy my urge to shop with minimal guilt.

7. I’ve lost 15lbs since Dec. 2009 without trying. I’m not even sure how this happened. I guess my body finally got used to all the exercise, I’ve built up some muscle and now I’m burning calories like crazy. It’s freakin’ awesome.

6. I can now wear those damn skinny jeans without feeling the need to cover my butt. I never thought I’d be able to rock this look. I thought it was reserved for 90-pound high schoolers and that I’d need to transition into mom jeans. Not the case. I’m wearing skinny jeans AND I can even tuck them into my once-cankle-hugging boots. Who knew?

5. I can climb a few flights of stairs without wheezing. My 16-year-old cousin and I were carrying groceries up a flight of stairs the other day. When we got to the top, she was wheezing and whining, and I was just fine. Love this.

4. It’s the perfect way to channel my creativity, frustration, angst, etc. and it’s probably cheaper than therapy. I’m not the type who can go running or hiking or whatever and get out my aggression. No, there needs to be some artistic element involved or all I get out of it is sweat. The dance gives me a physical workout, clears my mental space and makes me feel like I’ve “created” something. This makes me feel happy and balanced.

3. I have a new set of goals that can realistically be attained (and some have). Everyone has goals and often those are lofty, big-picture things that may or may never actually happen for us. I know I have some of those. But with the dance, I can set smaller, short-term goals that I can realistically reach. Like, I can say I want to be able to do a certain step well at the end of a six-week course, and I can actually do it. Like I think I’ve said before, little victories go along way in building confidence. And somehow, my little achievements with the dance are more significant to me than my achievements on the job.

2. Best. Teacher. Ever. I always say that you find what you need when you’re meant to find it. It’s possible if I found flamenco earlier in life, I wouldn’t have stuck with it, for lots of reasons. Specifically, I think I needed to find this particular teacher to bring out the best in me. I’ve taken lots of dance classes over the years, from some good teachers and some not-so-good teachers. I think the one I have now is fantastic. Her approach and techniques work for me. When she explains things, I get it — even if I can’t DO it, I GET it. And I feel like she gets me. She has a knack for acknowledging my strengths and recognizing my weaknesses and telling me what I specifically need to do to improve. She also doesn’t make me feel like an idiot when I royally screw up. That’s good teaching. (And right about now she’s reading this and thinking I’m sucking up, so I’ll stop now.)

1. Friends. Homegirl, Hotcakes, Doña Guajira, the list goes on. There’s nothing better than going to class and being around good people who share my interests and passions, and who are supportive of one another. We’ve been through a lot together and have learned a lot about each other over the last year. How lucky I am to have all these lovely ladies in my life.