Stories from Spain: Taller de Baile

By Anjelica Perez Vicente, 2019 cohort

The disbelief of being in a foreign country still strikes me everyday. This has been undoubtedly the best summer of my life. I know that without this program my family could only dream of sending me going to Spain in order to immerse myself in such a wonderful culture that I have grown to love. I make sure to reflect on the little moments, and dance class will forever be a memory that I will retain from my trip. The dance class that we got the chance to attend made me get a larger sense of the Spanish culture.

All the fellows met at El Centro de Idiomas, we made our way to the dance class and I talked with some of the fellows. Most of my peers expressed that they were slightly horrified while others were very enthusiastic. I felt a little of both; I was horrified of my amateur dance moves yet excited to learn new ones. I was excited to try something new and go outside of my comfort zone but I wasn't too sure about my sub-par dance moves, and my peers seemed to express the same sentiments. As I walked into the dance studio my eyes were captured by pink everything. From the wallpaper to the bathroom the studio was engulfed in either the color pink, photos of former dancers , or Hello Kitty. The studio seemed harmless enough.

As we started, we followed the instructor’s directions. In the beginning of our lessons many of us were giggling, attempting to keep up, making funny faces and overall enjoying the new moves that we learned. The dance instructions were 2 hours long. The studio quickly got hot because we practically created a sauna of sweaty teens. In the first class we learned flamenco and merengue. The second time around I was looking forward to learning bachata. The music is very familiar to me and reminds me of home since my dad likes to play that type of music. The artist that came on was romeo santos. The association I had with bachata was going to quinceañeras of family members and friends. I knew some of the basics but we learned a lot of what I’ve always seen and wanted to learn at the studio. The dance involves movement of the hips and the ability to dance at the same rhythm as your partner. When the instructor first initially showed us the dance steps I quickly thought that there would be no way in the world that I could move my uncoordinated feet in such a way. I quickly surprised myself as I began following along the instructors dance moves.

The dance was not only fun, but it also gave me an opportunity to experience such a significant part of Spanish culture. I was able to bring what I learned in the dance studio into my classroom in El Centro de Idiomas. Because our dance instructor spoke about Flamenco I decided to make it apart of my presentation. I gave a presentation on the autonomous regions of Spain and Flamenco is an important part of the culture in Andalusia. The dance studio not only helped me with a presentation but it helped me reflect. After this experience I have become more willing to try new things no matter how much it may intimidate me. The studio taught me to try, and that it’s sometimes best to exit your comfort zone because you may end up surprising yourself. No matter how much you may think you’re making a fool of yourself, there’s no harm in trying and becoming open minded.

Kristina Brown