Day one has arrived, and the Holiday Challenge begins!

What it consists of

Each day for the next seven days I plan to:

  1. Do a few of my favorite Mercedes body technique exercises.

  2. Run one of her choreographies.

  3. Imagine Mercedes talking, giving me feedback.

If you’ve never studied with Mercedes, sin problema. No problem. You can still participate in the challenge. Just substitute another teacher for Mercedes, and do same three tasks using material from that teacher.

Make it work for you.

Now let’s get more specific about the daily activities

There are basically two “tasks.”

One: doing some of the exercises we do in class with Mercedes, and

Two: running some of her choreography.

The third thing is to imagine her giving you feedback while doing the above two things.

You could do both the exercises and the choreography each day or just one or the other. But definitely do the third part, the part where you hear her giving you tips.

Okay, so each part:

1. Mercedes body technique exercises: 

You could do one exercise, two exercises, three exercises, as many as you want (or as many as you can remember). If you don’t remember a lot right now, don’t fret, they may come to you as the week goes on, and I will be here to remind you of some of my favorites. You KNOW I will be doing the one for manos for sure. In fact, that one I plan to do every day.

2. Choreography:

Run one (or part of one) of her choreographies. One time, two times, three times … as many times as you feel inclined to. You can run it the normal way, by physically going through the moves, or you can run it in your head.

This is brain implantation time followed by fine-tuning the movimientos. I’m excited to see what seven days of even just a little bit of this does for me.

3. Getting Feedback from Mercedes:

This is important. Because this is what will really put us into her class. This is what will set it apart from just doing an activity to doing the activity in her class. This is where the pretending part steps things up a notch.

I know so many things she would just automatically say, as do you, but I also want to hear her voice in my head giving me even more specific feedback. I’ve taken class with Mercedes enough to be able to anticipate things she might say. I’m sure I’ll hear one time things she said to me about this move or that move and what I could do to improve when I do certain moves, many of these tips I jotted down in my notebook and implanted in my brain at the same time. And I can always take a peek in my notebook for some reminders.

So that’s what I’ll be doing every day for the next seven days starting today. I hope you'll join me.

Now, to answer some questions:

How long do we spend doing this each day?

It’s up to you.

I’m not going to say a half an hour or forty-five minutes, twenty minutes or an hour, five minutes or fifteen.

This challenge is really about the content. As long as I do at least a couple body excercises and at least one bit of choreography and listen to the feedback she gives me in my head, I’m good. I imagine the time I spend doing this each day will vary. And honestly, I don’t imagine I’ll spend a lot of time on this each day as I am on vacation visiting family, and only one member of my family will be that interested in doing this for a long time with me…

My plan for today (well, this evening) is to run two exercises with my niece Margot while looking at my sticky notes from yesterday and rather than actually doing the choreography, I’ll watch the video we took of ourselves doing it in class.

Where will we do it?

Since I am visiting my family in San Diego, I’ll be doing it at my sister’s house. I’m not sure where yet, but I’ll report back on that. I imagine it will depend upon the day.

If I were at home I would probably be doing it in the kitchen or dining room because the floor is comfortable, and that’s where I’ve been practicing the most lately. (No, not with flamenco shoes.) or in the bedroom for certain exercises that I want the real mirror for or the bathroom. Bathrooms are often dangerous because while I often find myself dancing in there (expressly becasue of the mirror) it is where I often end up hitting my hand on something when I forget how small of a space I’m in. (In the dining room I can use the window as a kind of sort of mirror, something I’ve been doing for years with Ricardo.)

Will I wear flamenco shoes?

No, I did not bring them with me, and I never flamenco shoes when practicing at home anyway.

Missed the warm-up?

Here it is.

How will you approach the challenge?

Will you be doing the challenge with Mercedes or with another dancer? If you’ve chosen another teacher, who is it, and why did you choose that person? Leave a comment here.