Could a dance class change your life?
Just ask Nellie Bennett. Ten-hour shifts at a high-end department store in Sydney left Nellie wanting more from life.
While sitting in the lunchroom one day at work, she found herself flipping through the classifieds. Leaping off the page was…
FLAMENCO DANCE. NEW TERM BEGINNING.
From her first flamenco class, she was hooked. She took weekly classes and practiced whenever she could.
“It was nothing more than an innocent online search. But an online search is never really innocent. What we type into Google reveals our deepest desires, and mine was to dance flamenco in Spain.”
The first result on Google was for a dance school in Seville. They had new courses starting every week and helped international students with accommodations.
Nellie dreamed of taking a month off to dance. The only one thing stopping her from jumping on a plane was money. She figured it would take her four months to save up what she needed to cover six weeks of travel, classes, and living expenses.
When she had enough money for her flights, she stopped in the local travel agency and bought a round-trip ticket to Seville.
“Was I really ready to go to Spain? I mean, who was I to think that I could just turn up in the birthplace of flamenco? But if I didn’t go, then what? I had to make a crazy break somehow, because the thought of spending another year folding cashmere sweaters with tissue paper was enough to make me lock myself in the ladies’ room on Level Three and never come out.”
Arriving at the school, she is shown the class she will be taking. Filled with tourists who looked like they never danced flamenco before, Nellie wonders why she came to Spain.
She hears the sounds of an advanced class in the other studio and peaks in. Nellie persuades the school to let her try out the class even though it is beyond her skill level.
Being a vegan and only speaking a few words of Spanish made Nellie’s introduction to Spain rather challenging. She was still searching for vegan food three weeks later.
“Perhaps this trip had been a big mistake. I clearly wasn’t the intrepid traveler I had imagined myself to be. Maybe the most crushing part of what we call “growing up” is seeing the gap between the people we think we are and the people we actually are. In my case it wasn’t just a gap, it was a yawning chasm.”
Only in Spain
Left with no other options, Nellie found herself drinking cafe con leches, eating white bread, fish, and meat.
“Spain was seducing me, and I was such a willing seductee. Every day she stripped off another piece of my armor, and she did it in a way that was so delightful that the staunch vegan who had been proudly starving herself was now drinking red wine at midday and ordering tapas without even checking the ingredients.”
“Only in Spain” became her mantra every time she broke her rules.
“Everyday life was starting to feel like less of a struggle, and I’d accepted that searching for a smoke-free cafe and a supermarket open on Sunday in Seville was as pointless as it would be to expect flamenco-singing police officers or a glass of red wine for a dollar fifty in Sydney. It just wasn’t gonna happen. And as soon as I left go of my ideas of how the world should be, I was able to enjoy all the Spanishisms I had come to love.”
By the end of six weeks, Nellie had fallen in love with Spain and flamenco. A passionate kiss goodbye from her flamenco teacher, Enrique, sealed her fate. She had to come back to Seville!
Back in Sydney, Nellie found herself dreaming of Spain. While grabbing a coffee near the beach, she heard the sounds of stomping feet in a building nearby. Could it be flamenco?
Tracking down the sounds to a Boy Scouts Hall, Nellie peeked in the doorway and instantly knew she found her next teacher.
Marina was Australian and had spent years studying flamenco in Spain. She told Nellie that if she was serious about flamenco, she needed to go to Madrid.
Madrid is home to the Amor de Dios, a famous flamenco school where Marina studied.
“I knew that some greater power was orchestrating my life, because it was just too weird that I would find myself in the presence of this flamenco diva just as I was wishing myself back in Spain.”
It sounded crazy to move to Madrid to become a flamenco dancer. A dream is one thing, but turning a dream into reality is another.
“And if I lived my life, and I mean really lived it – if I ran away with the gypsies and danced flamenco in a red dress under the full moon of a summer night in Madrid – then I could face any challenges life threw at me, an even death itself, because I would know that I had lived the one precious life that I had been given. But it isn’t easy being a girl who is afraid of everything. I had to create a king of hierarchy for my fears. And in the end, the fear of letting go of this chance to live my dream was greater than my fear of what lay ahead of me.”
Want to know what happens in Madrid? Check out Nellie’s adventurous memoir, Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love.
Do you have a dream you want to pursue? What can Nellie’s adventure teach you?
Follow Your Desires
What is your intuition telling you to do? Travel, pick up a book, or take a class. Whatever your desire is, take that first step. You never know where it will lead. Heck, it could even be life changing.
Begin Your Search
Unsure of your next step? Google, ask friends or find someone who has done what you want to do. Chances are 95% of the things you want to do have already been done, so there is no shortage of information or experts to ask.
Realize the moment you step outside your comfort zone, doubt will come up. You will question yourself and if you’ve made the right decisions in your quest.
Reality Versus Fantasy
You have pictures of what your dream will look like. Know this is a fantasy and your reality will be a lot different. Be prepared to bump up against what you believe to be true about yourself and what you are capable of. Isn’t this what adventures are all about?
Let go of the things that hold you back. Don’t give in too quickly to despair. A pursuit always includes moments of feeling like a failure or questioning if you’ve made the right decision.
Follow your intuition. There are larger forces at work orchestrating things. It is easy to want to control things and have them go a certain way, but if you are in the flow, you will manifest from a place of true intention.
Is there a dream you want to pursue? I would love to hear about it in the comments below.