It was 2008. And I was in Jerez.

Ten years had passed since that first trip to Spain.

Finally, I had made it back.

So there I was, at the festival, getting ready to study with my best friend for the very first time.

It was Ricardo who told me I needed to study with him.

Without question.

And without pause.

I needed to study with Manuel Liñan.

Naturally, I was scared out of my mind.  As was Lillie.

But we weren't supposed to be scared.

Not this time.

Because according to Ricardo and some other trusted resources he was supposed to be the nicest person in the world.  Especially to us.

We were going to laugh and have fun the whole way through...

That's not how things went down

We arrived early the first day.  Excited to meet him.  The amazing dancer who was going to love us and treat us so well.

We smiled at him.  We told him Ricardo had sent us.  We even told him we loved his silver shoes.

But none of it mattered.

He couldn't stand us.  That was clear.  To us at least.

But we were in it

We had committed.  This was our workshop.

So every day we went.

With clammy hands and upset tummies.

Every day hoping that this would be the day when he'd be nice to us.

That never happened.

But it didn't matter

Because the class was incredible.  Even though it was so hard, and I could barely make eye contact with him.

Because David Palomar sang for us every day.


Because we met Shyiang there.  Shyiang whose positive energy made everything better.  I figured as long as we stayed close to her, we'd be fine.

And we were fine.

He taught us a martinete.

We fell in love.

And we'll always go back for more.


Si los huesos me crujieran 
como crujen los piñones
no me dolería tanto 
como tus malinas condiciones

If my bones were to crack 
as pinenuts crack 
it wouldn't hurt nearly as much
as your messed up ways 

Listen here.

A footnote:

No one can dispute that Manolillo was supposed to love us and didn't.

Still there does exist the possibility that his not being able to stand us lived mainly in our cabezas.  I have a few theories about this which I won't get into now.  But I will say that Shyiang could not see it.  And I will also admit that at times I can be semi-dramatic...



What do you think?  Have you studied with Manuel Liñan?  Have you been afraid to take a workshop?  Who is that teacher you've been so intimidated by?  You can leave a comment below.