Personal Narrative: Flamenco Dance

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At the age of seven I began studying flamenco dance under the direction of Linda Vega in Santa Barbara. Dancing flamenco for nine years brought so much joy to my life, to my family's life, given me physical and performance skills, and has taught me many life lessons. Every summer Santa Barbara celebrates Old Spanish Days Fiesta, which is a five-day long celebration honoring Santa Barbara's Spanish heritage. There are marketplaces throughout the city, called mercados, where visitors can dine on Spanish and Mexican food, shop for novelty items, and enjoy live performances. We prepared and practiced for a whole year just to perform during Fiesta. Our dances and choreography were so intricate that it would take that long to perfect all of the steps. I have had the wonderful privilege of dancing flamenco throughout Santa Barbara and at many of the Old Spanish Days venues.

Through dance I have become very comfortable performing on stage. The weeks leading up to
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I believe the most important is time management. Our Fiesta schedule usually consisted of dancing at six venues a day, sometimes at opposite ends of the city. Depending on the year, I've had to perform up to eighteen times a day if I had three dances to do per location, which could be quite hectic. A typical day of Fiesta is to wake up at 7:30 a.m., do my hair, put on my make-up, put on my dress, and pack my accessory bag for the day, making sure to include water and snacks. It's very important for me to eat and hydrate between shows because each dance is about two to three minutes long. After each show we would have to pack all our things and sometimes have to run to the next show. Dedication, discipline and confidence are all important skills only years of hard work and dance provide. In addition, patience, flexibility, and the ability to adapt quickly to new surroundings are also life lessons I've learned from dancing throughout my

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