Have you ever seen that book, “All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten?” Well, here’s the flamenco version of it!
1.You gotta put in the work.
In flamenco, if you want to truly understand it, dance well and express yourself in it, you have to put in the work. That’s from listening to music, practicing, going to flamenco shows, going to class regularly, working out to keep strong, etc. Flamenco, like most anything else, doesn’t come from osmosis. Of course, if you grew up in a Gypsy family you would understand it flamenco automatically. But even Gypsy dancers practice their footwork. They work for it! And so must we.
Need help with putting in da work? Come to one of my flamenco dance classes in SoCal or join me at the Online Flamenco Studio.
2. Be vulnerable and thick skinned at the same time.
This is especially true if you’re performing flamenco. To truly express yourself and dance, you need to be vulnerable, allow people to see YOU. But then, we have to be thick skinned to the criticism that may come. Some of it may be helpful (you shouldn’t dance so heavy if the singer is singing lightly) or it could be hurtful (you suck!) So you need to be able to stay TRUE to yourself and filter the helpful feedback from the useless negativity, which leads us to….
3. We’re all insecure, delicate creatures.
When someone else who is supposedly more “flamenco” than you, says a hurtful comment, remember they have their own head trips to deal with. Send them love and kindness, then ignore them, then go read #2 again.
4. Know how to listen.
It’s not all about you. You can’t just talk and talk and talk. And in flamenco you just can’t dance and dance and dance. You must listen, interpret, communicate. If we can’t listen to the cante or the toque, we can’t dance. If we can’t dance, we can’t communicate. Just like in the real world!
5. Respect the space.
We’ve all been in class when some dancer has absolutely no personal space awareness. She takes up the whole front, middle section, with no regard to those around her. Be aware of the space around you.
6. We need community.
A flamenco dancer just can’t dance without her cuadro. Also, a flamenco dancer just can’t learn without her compañeras around her backing her up with encouragement and palmas. And besides, being around our people is fun!
7. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
If you keep looking at your imperfections in the dance, that’s all that everyone else will see, too.
8. Let it go.
How many times have you been able to stomp out any anger while in class with a good escobilla drill? Flamenco let’s us release! We can learn what’s worth fighting for and what’s worth letting go.
9. Enjoy the journey.
We all wish that we knew everything about flamenco, like, yesterday! But that’s impossible. We will never be perfect dancers. We just have to keep learning, get out of our own way with overthinking the dance. We can commit here and now to allow ourselves to be truly passionate and authentic. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the process, celebrate where we are now with a commitment and openness to always learn more.
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This is a set of wonderful reminders. Thank you. I remember all of these feeling in class that are addressed here by Rina. I was affected sometimes by the Flamenco class inspired demons….yes…some more, some less when I took regular classes some years ago. Flamenco practice is a strong metaphor for a life well lived with power and grace. I don’t take classes anymore. But I have a large collection of Flamenco CD’s and listen and still love the way it allows me to feel. I only wish my palmas were better. : ) I miss Spain. I miss seeing/hearing the riches of Flamenco there. Classes were intimidating, intense and fabulous in Jerez and I’m glad I did it. I hope to go back and at least attend some of the festivals. There is nothing like being in the audience with a group of true aficionados and hearing jaleo yelled out, at the perfect moment of sublime appreciation. It brings shivers. Flamenco will always remain in my heart. Anda! …..and thank you.
Thank you Mela for your thoughtful response. I’m glad flamenco is still in your heart. You don’t need to dance to still be a “flamenca”. Ole tu!
Awesome points!!! Flamenco is my life teacher too. Gracias, Rina!
OLE Laura! I’m glad you liked it. 😉