I can’t tell you *how* many times I hear students lamenting how they want to be able to go out and do a little pata’a por Bulerías (that means a little dance, a little something.) But to go out and dance por fiesta (meaning, at a party) or fin de fiesta (at the end of show) takes a bit of knowledge of the compás (rhythm), the cante (singing), and the overall structure of Bulerías por Fiesta.
But before I go into that, let’s clear up a few things about what Bulerías is all about. It’s a fast 12 count rhythm and it usually finishes off other 12 count dances such as Solea, Solea por Bulerias and Alegrias. But then Bulerías por fiesta is a style of dance that’s all improvised, fluid and fun. It can occur at the end of a show, when the dancers and even the musicians or other flamenco audience members come out and do a little improvised dance.
There are rules and no rules as long as you understand the structure and the cante. When I teach my students, I keep a tight structure to Bulerias, acknowledging that the singer will always sing a particular way for each dancer in this show.
So, the structure would look like:
- entrada (entrance) of the dancer
- llamada (call)- the dancer does an accented move to tell the singer to sing
- letra (singing verse)- the singer sings a simple letra that the student can follow
- desplante (a different llamada)- this can also be called a llamada. It usually is towards the end of a letra or sometimes used everywhere! It’s noticeable by the first strong accents of 1-2-3!
- llamada to the corner of the stage- this signals the singer that the dancer is ready to leave the stage
- estribillo (chorus)- singer sings the dancer off the stage
But in “real” life, the flow of the cante is much more open. The dancer has so many more options. The singer may stretch out the lyrics over a number of compases so the dancer has to be able to learn how to *listen* and be able to *hear* where the singer is resolving.
Also, even though Bulerías is in 12, many times it goes into phrases of 6, so that it seems there’s a compás of 12 with an “extra” 6. There are also different styles of Bulerías- de Jerez, de Utrera, etc.
But what’s more important when you’re learning how to dance a general Bulerías, is being able to LISTEN to the cante and FEEL the transitions as well as understand the general structure. So, as in the example above, you can walk in, do a llamada and the singer will begin the letra. But in “real life” Bulerías, the singer is singing the letra, and the dancer comes in during a respiro (a pause in the singing)or during a caida (the point in which the dancer “resolves”, the melody tends to inflect downward.)
So, what are you supposed to do if it’s the “real life” Bulerías? Keep.it.simple. No surprise there. You should have a few marcajes, maybe a remate, definitely a desplante/llamada. It could look like this:
- Walk in during the respiro in the letra
- Dance the letra with the transitions using a few marcajes in your repertoire
- End the letra with a desplante if you can hear the transition. Pro tip: If you hear the caída, then you can automatically do a desplante after that- even if it’s after the letra!
- Finish by doing a desplante to the corner to start the estribillo
It just takes a lot of practice listening and watching, testing it out, messing up, and then trying again. And you can practice here!
Here are a few wonderful videos of Bulerías fin de fiesta with a few notes of things to look for.
Can you see them? Can you find your own?
Singer sings a letra at :44. Dancer does a llamada to call for the estribillo at :55. Of course, there’s more and more and more…..
Blanca del Rey starts dancing letra at 2:12. Does a desplante at 2:21. Estribillo at 2:50.
The dancer just walks out when the singer starts singing the letra at 3:28. Deplante at 4:04. Desplante to the corner at 4:18. Estribillo at 4:22.
MY FAVORITE BULERIAS DANCE EVER! Singer begins the letra and Angelita eases into dancing it. Desplante at 1:55. Estribillo at 2:02.
Got it? Tell me what you think!
This was super helpful to find the times when the desplante’s begin, etc. I really got to see the 1,2,3, count. Seems to me also that it’s a classic move to do that circular rotation of the arms above the head in the desplante. The character coming out of those children is so amazing.
Thank you Rina!
p.s. Ever since I signed up, just like that, you have become part of my life in a significant way. I love taking your classes and you are so very inspiring to me. Your kindness and generosity are palpable! And, I just want to add that your program is well put together and professional. Thank you so much Rina!!!
p.p.s. Happy Valentine’s day! 🙂
Ole Annique! I’m glad this helped and I’m so happy you’re enjoying the Online Flamenco Studio!!! 🤗