It fills me with joy to realize after so many years that a part of me is actually the legacy and the gift my grandma left behind for my mom and I. It took me a long time to fully embrace everything she had to give us. I didn’t have a chance to tell her how much I appreciated what she taught me or to say how much I adored her. I didn’t expect her to depart the way she did. We had a difficult and happy relationship at the same time. My mom, her and I carried so many similarities that many times we would serve as mirrors to each other. We would see on each other things we didn’t like about ourselves. They probably don’t realize this but we faced the same challenges in life, it seems like story repeated itself for us. The lesson always was about learning how to find love for ourselves. Life taught us to be tough and brave even though we are as delicate as a fresh flower. My grandma was Spanish and had no chance to allow her sensitive side to manifest itself, she chose to toughen up and be this strong woman so she could go through the hardships her life brought her. Culturally she learned this was the way. Something we would always disagree and argue about, I just didn’t know I was only seeing myself on her.
She did try to show me that her soul did have an expression…The body that feels such intense emotions to make it move and dance in response to it can also be the kind of expression the soul longs for. I don’t know exactly what kind of soul connection the three of us share, but this was her gift. She taught me how to express myself through dance. It came from her my love for dance. I never did it in a way to make it professional or anything. I did it because there was something inside wanting to be expressed and all I wanted was to let my body talk. I didn’t want anyone to see me, I remember my parents curious to know why I liked dancing alone or why I didn’t want to take classes and I guess I was too young to understand I just wanted to do it for myself to free my soul. She was the one who taught me this through sharing her culture with me. The Flamenco dance. A style that is ultimately a language, an expression. Every movement is intense and with strong emotions to make the body move in a certain way. The guitar, the singer and the dancer are one, each one following the lead of the other. It tells a story, it is the embodiment of feelings and emotions.
I remember Yaya and my mom teaching me the movements and also how to use the castanholas when I was little. And I’m glad they passed it on to me as something I could be inspired by. I used to see the dancers as true Goddesses. The beautiful dresses. Stomping their feet with passion dictating the pace. Handclapping in perfect rythm with the music. Their hands flourishing in the hair and the arms sweeping beautifully around them. A part of my personality was developed based on this image of a woman, an image I admired. My grandma and my mom.
I hope I never leave for later the choice to show how much I Love the presence of those who are dear to me again. Or the choice to see the good instead the things that bother me, which was exaclty what kept me from telling her how much she meant despite the bad moments. My pride at the time wouldn’t let me call and show some affection. After her passing I think I really forced myself to put my pride aside and see only the good, because tomorrow is just a maybe.
And today whenever my heart feels troubled I close my eyes and I dance. I dance and everything fades away.
My favorite performances: