Lúa Mayenco Cardenal – “When They Ask About My Summer”

Lúa Mayenco, a third year in the Juilliard Dance Division, recounts the factors that shaped her summer.

Lúa Mayenco, a third year in the Juilliard Dance Division, recounts the factors that shaped her summer.

Editors’ Note: In August, we asked our readers to submit stories to the Citizen-Penguin about their summer opportunities and travels. Here, Lúa Mayenco Cardenal, a dancer beginning her third year at Juilliard, writes on the four factors that defined her summer.

In the past few weeks I had to learn how to transform my summer into a three-minute story. New York is bringing me back to its accelerating routine and I see myself carefully choosing the most energizing and unforgettable moments of the past few months to support me in the intensity of the new school year.

Cardenal’s home of Madrid, Spain

Home. That’s for sure the first thought that comes to my mind when I look back to my summer. Madrid, Spain, its heat, its magic evenings, its unique flavors. Family, of course. Without it, home wouldn’t be home. We sit around the table and acknowledge the little changes that time has left on us. Maybe work has been exhausting for her and he is stressed because his students are about to take their final exams, but we are all excited to see each other’s eyes and enjoy a meal in the same time zone.

Friends. That’s always an interesting one. I return to my city, or I think that I do so, and some friends recognize me and some of them don’t. We have all matured, but perhaps in opposite directions. Nevertheless, those who dare to get to know me again are worth all my energy, love and full attention. I rediscover my city, guided by those who stayed and kept exploring. New shows, secret corners, art exhibitions, and small restaurants. All of them an excuse to keep reinventing myself.

Budapest, Hungary

Curiosity. That’s the reason behind summer trips and crazy dance intensives. I fly to Budapest and fall in love with the simple pleasure of following a beat. I think I had forgotten how to dance for dance sake, how to let the pleasure of movement to take over me without explanation. Five days in that sunny dance studio, surrounded by the craziest teachers, their peaceful voices and their passionate movement, bring me back to life. Paris is my second destination. I really don’t know what I’m getting into. Physical theater, at least now I know what that means. Half dancers, half actors, both trying to put our hands in that grey space between our disciplines. Conclusion: there is ALWAYS a lot to learn. How humbling it is to realize that every individual has the power to introduce you into an entire new universe. I truly thank my classmates for sharing their perspective in life, art and darkness.

Paris, France

Rest. I forgot that was an actual thing. I get to the beach, turn off my body and the exhaustion of an entire year takes over me. I’m unable to move for 4 days. My mind uses the salt of the sea, the warmth of the sand and the secrets of the wind to find inspiration. A million ideas pop into my mind. Do I already know what I will choreograph next year? Wait, I remember that I was here to rest. Let it go… at least for a few days.

And then what? Time to say goodbye again? I don’t even know what home is anymore. New York, are you my new home? Suitcases are quickly filled up with clothes and my indispensable secret reserve of Spanish ham. I don’t know if I’m ready for my third year, but I guess we won’t know until it happens. I trust, I hope, I take my summer warmth and I go.