That's Mercedes serving sherry to Seana at her studio in Jerez.  If you don't see the photo, click here. Olé.

Cream.  Oloroso dulce.

That's the type of sherry she served.

When I first got the idea for the Flamenco Tour to Jerez I envisioned a private workshop with Mercedes Ruíz.

That's it.

Nothing more.

A class just for me

Well, and the other people I would bring with me.

I was in Jerez studying, taking classes from Mercedes and others.

I felt pushed and pulled in all different directions.  Confused and overwhelmed with all of the different choreographies, the choreographies that I had walked in on the middle of.

I didn't like it.

I was supposed to be having fun, but it was feeling stressful instead.

I had met friends, but still I felt alone.

I wanted to be taking class with a group of friends.  I wanted it to be a class that started when I got there.  With a small group of people.  All of us just visiting.  All of us there together.  Not there to be become professional dancers.  There to get better, yes.  To learn and work hard and to have fun doing so together.

Mercedes was in.

And I began telling my friends there about my idea.

I didn't really know how it would happen, but I knew it would happen.

So let's get to the point.

Months later, from Portland, Oregon, I began planning the trip.

As I planned I realized we would need to do more than just take classes with Mercedes.  People would most definitely want to see shows por ejemplo.

por ejemplo - for example

But what if there were no good shows happening?!


So, I asked Mercedes.

I asked her if there were going to be any shows going on during the time we had set aside for the trip.  The first trip.  And this is what she said,

We could put on a show

We being Mercedes and David Lagos and Santiago Lara, her husband, and her dancers, that is.

Wait, what?  A private show?


And that is what we did.

Mercedes organized a show with David, Santi and three of her dancers.  We held it one evening in her studio, which is literally steps away from our apartments.

So we dressed up, kind of,  and headed over.  Amy, Becky, Cathy, Jackie, Katie, Marina, Ruth, Pat.  And my parents.  They kind of crashed my trip, but not in a bad way... I can tell you more about that later.  And me.

We arrived with our chairs.  Yes, we brought chairs.

David and Santi were outside chatting.

We stepped inside, and there was Mercedes.

Mercedes with a bottle of sherry and little glasses.  And she became the camarera.

camarera - waitress

She spoke her few sentences of English.  Over and over again.

"Hello.  How are you?"

And she served us all oloroso

We hung out for a bit.

And then we had a show.

This was one of people's favorite parts of the trip.  It was just for us.  It was special.

We were so close.  Hearing the cante like that.  And the guitarra.  Seeing the sweat of the dancers, the expressions.  

It was íntimo.

And so, we've done this every time

This show at Mercedes's studio.  It is a must and a favorite.


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