We are in the process of PCSing back to the States after just under three amazing years in Spain. Here in Spain, I have been able to fulfill my three professional goals I have set for myself when we got here. I have studied bulerias, I have bought a bata de cola (the long skirt we dance with) and I have performed in Spain. Of course, to be a flamenco dancer stationed in Spain seems like a special gift from the Navy Gods That Be. I feel like I have done the blessing justice. I found an amazing teacher that I have been doing private classes with once a week; sometimes we get together and work with a guitarist. I have tried to build a better understanding of what flamenco is for the military community on base by teaching Sevillanas classes. I arranged for a flamenco performance at the Navy Ball this year, and I actually did an impromptu duet with the dancer.
“To be a flamenco dancer stationed in Spain seems like a special gift from the Navy Gods That Be.”
I am leaving Spain with a deeper understanding of my art and what I want to do with it back in the States. I know myself better as a student, performer and teacher. I have been injured here and gone through some physical therapy to heal. I still am terrified of Bulerias, but I am working on it. When I wrote my first interview two years ago, my youngest daughter was only 2 and a half years old. Now she is almost 4. She is in school five mornings a week, and my days seem to have more space. Finally, I feel like I have a little time to breathe and stare at the wall (which this introvert Mama needs to do regularly).
Leaving an overseas post is always fraught with emotion. Ambivalence, excitement of being only a car ride away from family. But for me I am grieving. I love it here so much. I love my teacher, I love my community and I have loved being back in the country where I have spent most of my adult life. But as milspouses do, I look forward.
I am deeply involved in planning the 2019 Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival. Our 2018 Hudson Valley Flamenco Festival was a roaring success (look for us on www.facebook.com/Hudsonvalleyflamencofestival and on Insta). We sold out the theater and got great reviews. I learned a lot about event production, directing and being on the other side of things. The best way I can describe the experience is that I spent the majority of the performance contorted in my seat watching the audience instead of the show. It was pretty thrilling, worth the blood, sweat and tears that went into the production? …who knows. But I am doing it again. This year, because of our PCS, we are holding the Festival in October and we have added a full day of workshops and a private party/performance afterward that will be complete with a paella cooked over an open fire and lots of tapas and sherry. I am co-producing with a local arts organization this year to help relieve some of the stress of PCSing and planning.
Next Duty Station
Looking forward to the future which finds us in Silver Spring, MD, I want to fulfill my dream of teaching dance in higher education and plan to cold call as many universities with dance programs as I can. I am looking at Alternate Route Dance Therapy Certification Programs. Other than the usual PCS challenges, my personal mountain to climb is going to be making sure I carve time out of my days to work on my repertoire dances. I do have a place in our new house (that we haven’t seen yet) to build a dance studio.
I saw a sign on Etsy the other day. It said:
Pack. Unpack. Make Memories. Repeat.
My sign will say:
Pack. Unpack. Make Memories. Make Art. Repeat.