I get asked by my students sometimes, especially after they’ve been taking classes with me for awhile, what they can do to get to the next level.
But it’s a trick question because they know all of the physical things to do: practice intentionally in compás in the studio, listen to flamenco music, go to flamenco shows, etc.
It’s really a question of “How do I find my voice? How do I allow myself to become the dancer I want to be?”
This question usually happens if they’re not quite comfortable in their skin. They’re thinking too much and not feeling or allowing themselves to be within the movement. I realize they need to adjust their mindset.
I remember an episode of some modeling show years ago and Tyrese Gibson (hot male model) counseled one of the models who was having troubles looking sexy in a photo shoot. He told the contestant, “Your problem is that you don’t believe you’re sexy. You have to look at yourself every morning in the mirror and say ‘I am a sexy beast!’ ” Love it!… and excellent advice!
So I tell my dancers that they need to allow themselves to be the badasses that they are. I remind them to look at themselves in the mirror not to correct any physical part of the dance but to CONNECT with themselves as the person dancing. Looking at your SELF in the mirror with acceptance will lead to BEING confident in your movement, in your skin and remembering that your voice is VALUABLE.
When I teach, I try to help each dancer be FLAMENCA in their own way. Of course, there’s technique, theory and I can’t help impart my own styling. But I really try to highlight what makes each dancer a strong, unique individual. This happens by focusing on movements that feel “right” for the dancer and, if we’re working on a solo, choosing a palo (rhythm) that resonates with her.
In the end, it’s YOU who needs to find the courage to let out the flamenco beast that lies within. And to do that, you need to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and accept what you have to offer, what you have to express, that your voice is valuable. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt to look at yourself in the mirror every morning and announce to the world, “I am a sexy beast.” Or better yet, “I AM A FLAMENCO BEAST!”
Want to work on your flamenco beast at home? Check out my Online Flamenco Studio and you can dance with me anytime, anywhere.
Photo credit: La Farruca by Ruven Afanador