The night I danced with Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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I’ll never forget the night I danced with the late, great Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

In 1989, I set off across country to drive to Los Angeles with the idea that I would start my career in the City of Angels. Along the way I stopped in Park City Utah and was lucky enough to be hired as an intern at the Sundance Institute. During the summer the Sundance Institute holds workshops and that year they had slotted in a special workshop with Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you   remember it. –Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I had the important duty of checking off names when people came to the dining room. I interned during the composers workshop. I remember meeting some of film’s greatest composers including Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri and Michael Kamen, many with their young families in tow. By day I was the official “meal checker-offer” person in the dining room, but at night I was able to attend movie screenings.

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Robert Redford, Gabriel Garcia Marquez 1989

After the composers’ workshop ended, I continued on at Sundance. There was a lot of excitement because Marquez was teaching at a special writing workshop. He had been invited by actor Robert Redford. Along with the palpable buzz, it was interesting to see Secret Service who arrived before the literary great. You could tell they were Secret Service because hardly anyone on the property sported black suits, sunglasses and firearms.

The night before his workshop began, staff members hosted a casual dinner for Marquez to which I was invited. Being young and naïve it never dawned on me how amazing this invitation was. Staffers held a wonderful dinner party at one of the private homes that surround Sundance. I remember that it was a casual evening with maybe about 20 people. They served Cuban food and mojitos, which were delicious.

When Marquez finally arrived, the energy in the room picked up. While I never had a conversation with him, I remember he was rather short and seemed warm and friendly. As the night wore on and the mojitos kicked in, someone turned on music. The next thing you know, everyone was dancing. When I turned around, there was Marquez who was dancing next to me. We looked at each other and continued dancing. Eventually, other guests got into the action and he turned and danced with them. It was pretty cool to say the least.

Driving back that night, there was a spectacular full moon which illuminated the dark mountain roads. I remember thinking this had been a truly remarkable evening. Great food, music and of course dancing with Marquez. I was indeed over the moon!

 

Photo Credit:

Featured Image http://oaxaca.quadratin.com.mx/category/cultura/

is a writer and publicist who has put more miles on her car than she cares to admit. After rubbing elbows with big shots and little shots in Los Angeles she has come home to Connecticut. She confesses that she hadn’t read Marquez’s work before she met him but has since become a huge fan and wishes she had asked him to sign a book.

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