What are Flamenco head trips?
They’re about how we WANT to dance and express ourselves, but we get caught up with all those frustrations, insecurities and the stories we tell ourselves of about how much we suck.
It’s feeling crappy in class because we’re comparing ourselves to someone else. It’s feeling less of a dancer because we don’t get to perform with all the cool kids in all the cool shows. It’s making ourselves smaller because our teacher criticized us in a way that diminished us and made us even more insecure. It’s feeling like we’ll never dance the way we truly feel because, well, we didn’t have the luck to be born in Spain and we started too late in life.
The head trips usually start for dancers after having danced for several years and not feeling like they’ve made the progress they feel they should have made.
Have you ever felt that? I sure have. And I still have to keep all those insecurities in check even after dancing flamenco for more than 20 years!!!!!
So, how do I deal with all that flamenco head trips? It’s taken me years to deal with it. I think it comes with maturity and becoming more true to yourself. It comes with finally not letting criticism affect you if it doesn’t truly serve you. But then allowing yourself to open up, be brave, be vulnerable and knowing that you deserve to express yourself in flamenco. It also comes from surrounding yourself with positive people that are supportive of you- whether in the flamenco community or not. And finally, accepting that it does nothing to compare yourself to others.
You have to accept where you are, love on yourself, and step up bravely. You deserve to been seen and heard and to take up space on that dance floor! Remember that you’re dancing flamenco to feed your soul, feed your passion, not to be better than someone else.
I’ve told this story before—- 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 and love 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 leave the flamenco head trips behind. 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 Chana, dancer
Thank you , this couldn’t come at a better time. I am a beginner and berate myself
for not doing better, for not advancing more quickly. I will remember these encouraging
words of wisdom every time I put on my shoes!
You are a unique precious stone for me in this vast flamenco universe! I can’t stop feeding my mind and soul with all the thoughtful and valuable content you offer on this page! An awful lot of hard work and dedication to art and your students! I love the fact that you keep in touch with us in a lot of ways no matter what. You do care about your flamenc@s and it shows. I’m happy I belong here too. Thank you so much. Besos! Melinda
Thank you Tina! I just came back from flamenco classes feeling down because my teacher said the footwork sounded horrible. Your words of encouragement helped me to continue this art with aggressiveness.
Thank you for this! I, too, needed these words! I relate to all that you describe but I, too, will read this again to remind myself!
The very first class I attended was a vital one. She taught us the posture of an upright banana and had us stare at our reflection and say over and over “ yo soy “. That. Is a constant warrior cry from a flamenca,
Thank you for your post.
Mil gracias! I started using video during practice all the time and discovered the head vision did not come anywhere near my new beginner reality then started hammering myself with “What are you doing?!” I felt and still feel foolish BUT I just love to dance. You are spot on with this message….I choose to keep dancing! Vamanos!
Ole! Si, SER YO Y MI FUEGO! Confrontar al Toro Miedo y terror, por los cuernos! Flamenco es ese fuego interno que alumbra mi ser y a los que me rodean! Gracias por tu Luz!
Book marked This article. I love flamenco but it can be very competitive and frankly unfriendly at times, but a lot of art is like that. I too suffer from these head trips. Really gets me down. I’m relieved that I am not the only one. This is a great reminder for me to put things in perspective and stop worrying about comparisons and focus in my art.