Yesterday Mercedes Ruíz shared her thoughts on being a soloist, how her life and dancing after becoming a mother, and what it's like for her to work with her husband.  Today we learn a bit more. Oh, and that strange thing that absolutely must do each time before getting on stage that I promised to share with you today, you'll find it below.  Actually, you can hear Mercedes explain it directly.

And the interview continues...

Cuándo empezaste a bailar? A los cuatro años.  Y a los seís entre en a formar parte de la compañía de Manuel Morao. Un gitano de Jerez, una compañia que se hizo de aquí de flamenco.  Estuvimos casi seis años.  Y estuvimos en muchas partes de Europa.  Y en Nueva York tambien estuvimos dos meses y medio.   Entonces pero allí realmente yo bailaba y lo disfrutaba pero me lo tomaba como, era como un juego no?  Una niña que quería bailar y como un juego.   Y luego con doce o trece años que ya realmente dije quiero dedicar a esto profesionalmente.  Quiero seguir aprendiendo y  hacer de mi baile pues algo que me llene no?

When did you begin dancing? When I was four years old.  And when I was six I started joined Manuel Morao's company.  A Roma man from Jerez, a flamenco company from  here.  We were in it for almost six years.  And we were all over Europe.  And we were in New York too, for two and a half months.   But really there I danced and I had fun, but I treated it like a game.  A girl who wanted to dance for fun.   And later when I was twelve or thirteen I said that I seriously wanted to do this professionally.  I want to keep learning and doing my dancing, something that fills me.

Y en las compañias de niña todavía ibas a la escuela? Sí, a la escuela ibamos.  Y cuando nos ibamos mucho tiempo pues nos metían en el colegio español y todo el rollo.

And being in companies as a child, did you still go to school? Yes, we went to school.  And when we were gone for a long time they put us in Spanish school and everything.

Hiciste tus estudios principalmente en Jerez antes de entrar en las compañias? Sí en Jerez pero ya luego también mucho en cursillos que venían a Jerez.  Javiar LaTorre, Yerbabuena...  Y allí aprendía todo lo que podía.

Before joining the companies, did most of your studying take place in Jerez? Yes in Jerez, but after I also learned a lot in workshops with people who came to Jerez.  Javiar LaTorre, Yerbabuena...  And there I learned all that I could.

Y con quién estudiabas en Jerez?Empecé con Ana María López.  Y ya luego con doce años me fui al conservatorio de Sevilla.  Estuve en Sevilla un año.  Y ya luego estuve con Chiqui de Jerez.  Estuve cuatro o cinco años.  Y ya de allí también estudié con una profesora que hay en Cadiz que es buenísima que se llama Charo Crúz.  Es una profesora genial.  Ella me abrió muchas puertas.  Me abrió mucho la mente.   Y a raíz de ella también estuve en contacto con el Cordobés, un tablao flamenco que hay en Barcelona que es el mejor que hay en España.  Y entré en ese tablao y ya a raíz de allí que fue el principio.

And who did you study with in Jerez?I began with Ana María López.  Then when I was twelve I went to the conservatory in Seville.  I was in Seville for one year.  And then I was with Chiqui de Jerez.  I was there four or five years.  And from there I also studied with a teacher Cadiz who is wonderful named Charo Crúz.  She is an amazing teacher.  She opened many doors for me.  She really opened my mind.   And through her I got in contact with El Cordobés, a flamenco tablao in Barcelona, the best tablao in Spain.  I started at the tablao, and this was the beginning.

Y ahora la cosa tan rara que tiene que hacer antes de subir el escenario...

¿Tienes algún costumbre o ritual, algo que haces ántes de subir el escenario? Realmente soy muy supersticiosa.   Entonces siempre tengo las mismas cosas en el camerino.  ¿Sabes?  Las mismas fotos de hace años y

Hay una cosa que no puedo subir el escenario sin lavarmelos dientes.  No puedo. Imposible.  Hay que ver eh?  Como si fuera que voy a una boda.


And now for that very strange thing that she absolutely must do before going on stage

Do you have any rituals?  Is there anything you do before going on stage?  Really I'm very supersticious.   So I always have the same things in the dressing room.  You know?  The same photos from years ago, and

There's one thing it's that I can't go on stage without having brushed my teeth.  I can't.  Impossible.  Can you believe it?  As if I were going to a wedding.


Mercedes and her ritual - Click here to listen

Stick around for tomorrow's installment when Mercedes tells us about her family and their lack of interest in flamenco.  How they really have no idea what level she is on.  And, she tells us about why she loves to teach.

A side note.  Something I didn't mention to Mercedes.  She will laugh at me.  Reirás de mí Mercedes.  But there was this little part of me that didn't believe that I had actually been communicating with her over the past year while planning the upcoming trip to Spain.  That all of those emails back and forth were between me and some impostor who'd hacked into her email and was only pretending to be Mercedes.  I know.  I know.  But it all just seemed too good to be true.  Anyway, after our chat last Friday, that part of me has calmed down.  And recognizes that yes, it really is happening!

And she's excited too!


(That means, How cooool...)  Get the details on the Spain trip here.

Ok, your turn.  Do you have a question for Mercedes? Leave it below.  We'll be doing more interviews in the coming weeks, so tell me what you want to know!  Como siempre, other comments are also welcome.  I'd love to know what you think.

Déjame saber que piensas abajo.  ¿O tal vez tienes una pregunta para Mercedes?  Déjala abajo.