So here I am 4 weeks into my new life in Gran Canaria. I have been so “busy” relaxing, taking in my surroundings, dancing, making new friends, dancing and finding my way round, that I have not once, sat at my computer to write and tell you about it. Mainly because every time I think about it, I just don’t know where to start as there is so much that I actually want to say. So I have decided to start finding the time in my daily routine to write, possibly often some quick short blogs to keep you updated. For my friends on Facebook you will have seen some snippets on there already.
Today I wanted to share with you, the most unusual and unexpectedly, emotional event that happened to me this weekend.
I had been very fortunate to find that there was a kizomba dance weekend festival here not long after my arrival, which I promptly booked and have now attended. For those of you who don’t know what that entails, it is parties at night with social dancing and classes/workshops in the daytime, with an afternoon beach party and pool party thrown in. Doesn’t that sound like a fabulous way to spend a weekend?
The last event of the daytime workshops was a session called “A Theatre Experience”. Yes, exactly, my thoughts too, what is that? A show perhaps? Anyway, I had embraced the whole weekend so wanted to see what it was. Not everyone stayed but a good number of people chose to.
We stood in a circle and the lights were turned off so that only some natural light crept into the room. A lady explained for 5 minutes what was going to happen. This was, of course, in Spanish, so absolutely no use to me. A friend who spoke English explained a little but I was still quite literally, in the dark.
So it began. Some very lovely, slow, emotional music was put on, with English words that I understood. We then had to close our eyes, relax, breath and listen. Then we had to start walking slowly around the room and hugging the person that you came close to and say thank you or gracias. It was to be a session of gratitude for the time we had spent together.
Well, to my absolute shock after about my fourth hug and saying thank you I found myself in tears. These were not meaningless quick hugs and pecks on the cheeks as people often do, these were real hugs that lasted as long as those people felt they wanted to. After a few more hugs and more tears, I decided to step away for a moment and gather myself, to realise that others had had to do the same. In fact even writing this now the thought of it is still making me cry.
I gathered myself together and rejoined the group as they were making another big circle in which everyone was holding hands, and remember, this lovely emotional music is constantly playing. Now everyone starts to slowly walk forwards into the centre holding hands and touching shoulder to shoulder, until everyone ,for want of a better word, was in a huddle in the middle of the room. We then let go of hands, stretched our arms up into the air and slowly lowered them down onto the shoulders of the people around us. The whole group just moved slowly in time to the music for a while. More tears, for me and as I looked around for many others too, so I now felt less conscious about them and just carried on.
Finally we released our arms and very slowly, walked backwards to the edge of the room whilst clapping. The clapping got louder and louder as more people clapped and it was almost as if the noise was bringing you out of the trance that we were in. Many people in the centre were still hugging as they were too upset to let go, but everyone continued to clap until they too moved to the edge of the circle. As I looked around the circle I could see that at least half the room, men and women, where wiping away tears. That was the end of the session and people said their farewells to friends as some were leaving to go home to work in various places and countries on the Monday. A Sunday night at these events is usually a quiet affair for those that remain. Sometimes they can be the best nights too.
After that, I found that I walked my 20 minutes back home in tears, still shocked at how something so simple had moved me so much. I had spent just three days and three nights dancing with this group of strangers and getting to know them and this is the power of dance. It brings people together that may never have met, from all walks of life. So many people like myself often put a smile on every day despite what is happening or has happened to them and you just do now know what emotions you are keeping locked inside. Those simple and meaningful real hugs and someone saying thank you was so powerful, even though you barely knew the person giving the hug.
I think for me, I have been bottling up the stresses from work, stresses from a relationship that has now ended, moving away from family and friends to another country, and being on my own, on what could be Mars, learning everything from the beginning. Whilst I am loving every moment, I probably had not really given myself time to think about it all and take on board my feelings and emotions which this session seems to have opened the flood gate of, but I think was very much needed.
You can see how it has moved me so much, as this is the first thing that I have felt absolutely compelled to share with you and wanted to ask, that whilst my explanation above is nothing like the experience, that perhaps we all take it on board in our everyday life and just realise the importance of a simple smile, a hug and a thank you, to family, friends and even strangers.
Out of this weekend, I have learnt about and understood more of the different styles of kizomba, heard new music, met new people, made new friends I am sure I will see again, from many countries. It is certainly something to be very thankful for.
I am also doing my bit here and promoting the dance scene and events in the UK so if you get strange friend requests from people it is because I am pointing them in your direction to keep them posted on the events we have at home too.
I am sure all of my posts will not be quite as deep as this and as one friend asked me, what drugs were involved, I can assure you there were non. Just a group of passionate, caring and emotional people brought together by dance.