I just completed a dance challenge in my Online Flamenco Studio where dancers had to learn one of two Solea por Bulerias choreographies…… and then post them on the internet.
Learning the choreography is one thing, but then posting the video for all to see is a very SCARY action. But they did it anyway.
Most expressed their nervousness of learning the choreography and then posting it online. But they put their reservations aside because they saw this challenge as a way to break through some of their own flamenco blocks.
What these women did is key because we all have big hopes and dreams in our lives and we let our fears get in the way of acting on them. We can also make convenient excuses as to why we can’t attain whichever dream we have. ***
Too tired after work. Not enough money. Too busy with kids. And on and on.
Sometimes, those “excuses” are valid. But many times, they become a safety crutch. The fear of pursuing the dream is overwhelming that it keeps us from taking action.
For us here, it’s all about flamenco right? (Although I’m sure there are other dreams.) Why do you love flamenco? What would you like to do with flamenco? What dream would you have if you could live out your secret flamenco dream? Is it just having a nice workout? Join a community? Performing? Going to Spain to train?
Maybe calling it a flamenco dream is too “heavy,” but you might feel it more as “I want to get to class, but can’t because I’m too tired, etc.”
I hear ya. Been there, done that. At least for me, I have to show up to class because it’s my job! LOL. But the practicing part and making plans for shows is where I have *much* room for improvement. I have all kinds of excuses, from being too busy with kids to being too frazzled in general
So, why do I say all this?
First, I want to acknowledge that we all have our own blocks about flamenco or parts where we want to improve, whether it’s something relatively small like motivation to practice or something more profound like “I’m insecure about performing,” or even, “I don’t know where to begin!”
Second, I want to remind us that we know that flamenco feeds our soul, so taking part in any of it is nourishing. Showing up to class, going to a show, going down the YouTube Flamenco rabbit hole- all of it helps! It really is all about SHOWING UP IN OUR LIVES TO DO THE THINGS THAT TRULY NOURISH US.
Finally, I want to encourage us (myself included) that taking a lot of baby steps will usually lead to making bigger changes, and those bigger changes lead to huge accomplishments.
I challenge you to MAKE five minutes every day to work on your flamenco practice.
Here are five things you can do in five minutes at home to build on your flamenco practice and ultimately reach your nearest flamenco goal.
- Palmas. Pick a flamenco song and play palmas along with it. Pay attention to all the remates (breaks) from the guitarist and try to catch all the stops.
- Structure. Watch a flamenco performance video and see if you can identify all the parts of the dance (llamada, letra, falseta, escobilla, etc)
- Listening. Learn to “say” a llamada or remate. So, when you’re watching a flamenco dance performance video, look at one of the breaks (remates) and try to imitate verbally the sound of it while playing palmas. This is a great way to get inspired to choreograph and is a great way to work on your “flamenco ears.”
- Footwork. Practice any footwork that you know barefoot! Bonus points if you try to play palmas for yourself. Really focus on stretching the plantar foot for any heel work.
- Confidence. Watch this video and practice this seemingly silly way to gain confidence while dancing.
*** BTW you can view some of the dancers’ videos from the challenge on YouTube. Just search for “Online Flamenco Studio Dance Challenge.”