I’m all about dancing flamenco with our entire Mind, Body and Soul. What does that mean? It means dancing wholeheartedly with passion and understanding. It means understanding the structure, being meticulous with technique and allowing ourselves to express our passion. Does it take years of experience to be able to dance like this?
I say NO.
You can be a beginner and dance with expression and passion and grace. Of course, the more experience you have, the more tools you have to work with and the expression is a lot more nuanced. But no matter what, I think with these 3 keys ANYONE can dance with confidence and passion.
GET TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER
We start with the HEARTBEAT of flamenco, the compás, the rhythm. Compás also means to be IN rhythm- you are dancing out of compás, out of rhythm. It’s also a measure of beats. So, two compases can be two rounds of 12 count rhythm (12-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10).
Without the compás IN your body, there can be no expression. And this can take some time, especially for the 12 count. So you have to allow yourself to get frustrated learning it, allow yourself to absorb it. Take your time building that muscle memory and *really* focus on finding that 12! Use solo compás to practice to get accustomed to the beats, then use music with guitar. Finally move on to recordings with a singer but with strong palmas marking the compás.
HOW YA FEEL?
Many dancers tend to focus on how they LOOK while dancing. Do I look good? Do I look graceful or strong or pretty or whatever? We want to look like that dancer we admire on stage, dripping with sweat, looking just.so.flamenca! But that is misguided. What we really need to focus on is how we FEEL while dancing.
Is it about how we want to feel in general? Sexy, strong, passionate, happy? It actually has to do with getting in touch with the aire or the attitude of the particular palo (rhythm) we’re dancing. Each palo has its own aire. Alegrías is happy. Tangos is fun and funky. Solea por Bulerías is aggressive. Solea is somber and profound. So, tapping into that feeling of the palo will help you tap into your own emotions that will be expressed in your dance, whether it’s a class, practice session or performance.
MARSHMALLOWS & TEFLON
And finally, and most importantly, we must tap into our own personal COURAGE so we can allow ourselves to STAND UP AND BE SEEN! I always talk about how as dancers we need to be made of marshmallows and teflon (well not necessarily in those words!) By that I mean we need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to express ourselves. But then we also need to be strong to deflect any criticism (whether it’s real or just perceived) and that takes courage!
The courage to dance isn’t limited to dancers that are performing. Sometimes the first step in having courage is just showing up to class. Other times it’s doing a step in front of the class by yourself. Courage comes in many forms and in all aspects of our flamenco journey.
So there you have it. To dance flamenco with entire mind, body and soul you start with having the COMPAS in your bones, get in touch with how you want to FEEL while dancing, and have the COURAGE to dance, dance, dance!
If you want more help with dancing with your entire being, check out how to work with me directly in the Online Flamenco Studio. ¡Olé! 💃🏻