Virginia Woolf called it “A room of one´s own” – that sacred, deeply personal space (literal and metaphorical) where a woman can retreat, breathe for herself and no one else, think, feel and write. If writing is her thing.
The same applies to Dance.
If you´re a professional dancer, or someone who takes dance seriously, you need a room of your own, a domestic temple dedicated to your dance, a factory where choreographies are made, performances are prepared, dance steps are attempted, discarded or developed (like the recipes of a daring cook), a protected backyard where tensions are released and, God willing, turned into Art.
Allow me to confess: I don´t need a room of my own, I need two rooms of my own. Greedy, greedy girl!
One room for my dance work and the other for my writing (is that too much to ask?) One with exterior mirrors, sound system and dance shoes decorating the floor and another with interior mirrors, silence and bare foot. In the corridor that divides, and unites, these two rooms the world becomes One. Complete. Peaceful. The virgin earth where I plant the seeds of success waiting to happen; the laboratories where I am safe enough to plunge into discoveries and freedom, the freedom of being my full self. Unapologetic – am I taking too much space just for myself? – and shamelessly proud – I can do this and that and and and and. That. I CAN!
Two sides of me (“From Cabaret to the Convent”), two sacred stages where I operate. For me, a house without these two spaces – to dance and to write – is not a house. Which takes me to the last book I read while riding airplanes throughout USA & Mexico. I grabbed it from the Venusian shelves of Strand bookshop, on Broadway, New York. Why this particular book? I´ll never know. I choose the book I want to read as I choose a lover – because I feel it, that´s The One my soul asks for. No rational explanation, no must read list provided by experts, no obligations or promised benefits. Just because.
Sandra Cisneros delighted me as “guacamole” delights me – with gusto, lust, a kind of hunger only meaningful kisses can kill. She brought Mexico to me, wrapped in clover and red ribbons, her Mexico, the way she reinvented her genealogy. She also brought me back to my own condition of marginal, someone who lives in eternal transit, movement, flight; the gipsy who belongs everywhere and nowhere. That seems to be her; that´s certainly me.
This author, whose work I´d never read, brought me even more: she reminded me of what I teach everyday and, sometimes, tend to forget where my own life is concerned: trusting my uniqueness, even if that means having to celebrate the alien I am; not trying to fit in; not meshing into the mainstream mediocrity, not surrendering to the threat of solitude. ´Cause solitude doesn´t need to be a threat (does it?).
Traveling for work is an opportunity for many things and reading extensively is one of them. Long flights, transits, pieces of time between an event and the other, the whole “away from home” tranquility invites me to read. And remember. Always remembering. That´s probably the feat of great books.
“What strikes me about Mexico is the fluidity between the physical and spiritual world, a porous border where the living and the dead cross without papers. It´s a culture of profound spiritual knowledge, but with no superiority over those who are spiritually innocent. In the deepest spiritual tradition, humility is a state of grace, misunderstood as inferiority by those who don´t have it.”
Excerpt from “A House of My Own” by Sandra Cisneros