As most of you know I went to Albuquerque earlier this month to Flamenco Festival Internacional.  Festivals are intense.  Intense can be good, but it can also be, well, fuerte.  Preparation can help. So...

1. Choose a festival hosting artists you want to see and learn from.

Artists I admire = inspiration and motivation.  Sure, I get a bit nervous at the thought of studying with these most amazing artists, but it usually goes away after awhile.

2. Go with a group of people.

You may know them before.  You may not.  You may travel with them.  You may meet up there.  Either way, having a small community within the bigger festival community offers support.  Plus it's just so much more fun with other people.  Think laughter, lots of laughter, therapeutic laughter.

3. Choose your learning tools.

There are many available.... An audio recording device to help you recall the sounds. A notebook for notes and reflections on class. Going over the choreography or tricky steps with another student after or before class. Getting centered and staying present.

4. Prepare yourself for an unusual schedule.

If you're sharing housing with others, adaptation is necessary. And even if you're staying on your own, a festival schedule will probably be quite different from your regular home routine.

5. Set yourself up for good sleep.

Bring ear plugs, especially if you're sharing a room or a bed or a house or apartment. Take naps. Bring a pillow from home.

6. Go in with a positive attitude.

This is huge.  Stefani says, "Just have fun.  Don't fixate on others getting it and you not."

7. Bring reminders of home for comfort.

For instance, I have the cutest little hand towel from Japan.  Japanese linens are the best.  It is soft and sweet and has a rabbit on it.  Just seeing it makes me feel good.  To me, cositas like this really can make a difference.

8. Care for your body.

Bring a rolling bag.  Your back will thank you.  Gracias, Emilio, for my rolling bag! "Epsom salts,"  Kelley says.  Happy feet! Massage what needs massaging.  And it's not a bad idea to go with someone who likes to give foot rubs.  We really had this someone in Albuquerque...Thank you, Stefani. Stretch what needs stretching.  How I love resistance bands.  They're so good for traveling.

9. Take care of yourself.

Take breaks as you need them.  You know yourself.  You know your needs.  Descansa. Equip yourself with snacks and liquids. Find some time just for you.

10. Breathe.

Ahhhhh.  So often I forget to do this.

You must have some tips of your own.  Thank you, Kelley and Stefani for your additions.  Now, I'd love for YOU to add to the list.  What do you do to survive a flamenco festival?  There must be more ideas out there...

Oh, and while it's not an actual festival, the Flamenco Tour to Spain,

All of the above can certainly be applied.