So my biggest issue with bulerías when I got to Jerez was the transitions.  Well, ok, that’s not really true, my biggest issue after fear.   But about the transitions, it was like all of a sudden I couldn’t see them. And I didn’t know what to do.

It was my first time in Ana María López’s class after dancing by myself in front of EVERYONE, which is what you have to do EVERY day there and actually NUMEROUS times every day.

And you can’t hide.

You can’t escape by leaving the room because someone calls you, even if you’re outside practicing or just trying to escape all of the smoke.  - Yes, smoking.  Lots of smoking goes on in class, from start to finish - And if you try to pretend you didn’t hear that you were called and still don’t come in, someone comes to get you.

There is absolutely no way of getting out of it, unless you physically leave the premises.  I admit, I did this once but only once I promise.

So perhaps you’re wondering, why wouldn’t you want to dance?  That was what you were there for, right?  Claro! And I pretty much always wanted to dance.  It was just the usual fear of messing up, of looking stupid, that made me think I didn’t want to.  I can see that now.  I could only kind of see it then.

But anyway on this particular day, March 30, I finished dancing and thought to myself, “Oooo, I have such a hard time with these transitions.”  And what did Ani say to me as soon as I thought it?  “Laura, you have trouble with the cambios.”  Her comment pointed out three things to me:

1. I needed to give attention to it, to that one transition that didn’t even seem like a transition, that one that was so different from what I had always done in the past. The larger lesson: Transitions are important and need extra attention.

2. But I didn’t need to get so hung up on this one little thing so and lose sight of what was going on around me. The larger lesson: Don’t overthink it.

3. I didn’t need to look to her to tell me what I needed to work on, I already knew it. The larger lesson: Listen to and Trust my instincts.

By the way, I’m not talking about some crazy paso with bizarre footwork as a transition.  No!  If you come to bulerias in December I can show you what I’m talking about.

And really it was no surprise, the issue.   The transitions in flamenco have always been difícil, much like most of the ones in life.

But I’ve learned something about how to deal with them.  I've come to realize that if I...

  • give them time
  • give them attention
  • prepare for them
  • attune to what is going on around me

then they go much more smoothly and are satisfying, enjoyable even.  In learning how to approach the transitions in flamenco, I’ve learned a bit about approaching the changes in my regular life as well.  The big ones and the small ones.  Todos.

Any thoughts on transitions?  What do you think about moving from one thing to another?  Leave a comment here.

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