This month I've been talking to Mercedes Ruíz.  And asking her about lots of stuff.  Today the questions came from you, the readers.  Thanks for these.  

Getting Personal

Mercedes had some beautiful things to say about how motherhood has affected her dancing.  You can read about it here.  This following series of questions came from another mother, one who is also a flamenco dancer.  And they're kind of personal...

¿Ha sido difícil encontrar la confianza de nuevo para bailar después de haber nacido tu hija?  La confianza nunca la he perdido.  La verdad es que desde que nació mi hija tengo mas motivación para bailar.

Was it hard to find confidence in your dancing again after your daughter was born? I never lost confidence.  Honestly I am more motivated to dance now that I have a daughter.

¿Vas a tener mas hijos?  Pues ahora mismo no sé.

Are you going to have more children?  At this moment I don't know.

¿Alguien te ayuda con Pastora para que puedas seguir bailando?  Sín la ayuda de mi familia no lo podría hacer nunca.  Pero la verdad es que nada me hace falta siempre el cariño de mi marido, de mis padres y hermana.

Does anyone help you with your daughter so that you're able to keep dancing?  Without the help of my family I could never do it.  But the truth is that I have all that I need with the love of my husband, my parents, and my sister.

On teaching

What you're about to read I witnessed being in her class.  The level of student varied, but her expectations for all were high.  And in everything she did, in everything she said I could feel her love of the art form.

¿Como profesora, cuál es mas difícil para ti, enseñar a alguien que tiene habilidades técnicas pero a quien le cuesta expresar las emociones y la pasion o enseñar a alguien sin mucho conocimiento técnico pero quien puede expresarse bien? Es difícil enseñar de una manera u otra porque cada cosa requiere lo suyo, pero lo que siempre enseño igual, tanto para uno con más nivel u otro con menos nivel, es el respeto por el flamenco.

What do you find to be more challenging, teaching someone who has the technical ability but struggles with expressing the passion from within or teaching someone without technical expertise but who possesses the inherent expressive component? It is hard to teach one way or another because each thing has its specific requirements, but what I always teach in the same way to someone of high level or someone at a lower level is a respect for flamenco.

Words of advice

Seemingly simple.  Yet so important.  And still so often we deny the importance of this.

¿Que consejo darás a un principiante al flamenco.  Para tener éxito, que aconsejas, aparte de practicar? Que sea muy aficionado al cante y a la guitarra, que eso lo ayudará muchísimo a entender mejor el flamenco.

What advice would you give to a beginner in flamenco?  What advice do you give in order to be successful, apart from practicing? To listen to a lot of singing and guitar as this will help immensely in better understanding flamenco.

What to wear?

Ok, now, this response surprised me.  It really, really did.   Because Mercedes is so incredibly detail oriented.  I assumed she had everything, including what to wear, decided upon waaaaaaay in advance.

¿Cómo decides que ropa que vas a llevar para cada actuación? Depende de lo que quiera transmitir en ese momento.  La verdad es que soy una persona que el vestuario lo dejo para el último momento.

For each dancing event, how do you decide your choice of dress and color? It depends upon what I want to get across in that moment.  The truth is that I am the type of person who leaves the wardrobe until the last minute.

More questions for Mercedes?  Let me know.  Thoughts about any of this?  Leave a comment here.

And...perhaps you want to com to Spain with me.  The Flamenco Tour happens this fall, and there is still time to get in on it!   Several people have asked me if I'm going to do a trip like this again, like if it is going to be an annual thing.  Hmm.  The very honest response is, I don't know.  I'm sorry.  I wish I did.  I hope so, but I just don't know the answer to that yet.  You can read more about it here.