We have the romantic notion that a flamenco dancer is all passion. That that passion drives her to practice hours on end and then she explodes on stage with all that intensity. And that may be true to some extent.
For me personally, I know I have passion, commitment and discipline and it’s what has kept me going on my flamenco journey for the last 25 years. But it’s not always passion, commitment and discipline. When there aren’t any gigs, even the goal of “getting better” doesn’t quite cut it— especially if you have a “normal” life with jobs and a family.
So, what about if you’re a student and there is no performance opportunity and “getting better” isn’t quite the motivator to practice. Then what? Why bother?
It all comes down to remembering WHY we love flamenco. We remember how it makes us FEEL while dancing. Remembering our “why” can spark that little bit of incentive. But what comes next?
It’s RITUAL!! Not a habit, but ritual. Habits are the things you do automatically just for performing the action itself- like brushing your teeth in the morning. And, of course, having the HABIT OF PRACTICE is excellent. But if our habit isn’t quite set, WE CAN USE RITUAL and that action can set us up for the intended action. A ritual is something done repeatedly with a purpose outside of the action itself.
We can have the habit of going to flamenco class or practicing on certain days. But we can also have flamenco rituals that set us up for success.
I have always called my regular flamenco warmup my own personal ritual for practice. I can be tired and completely unmotivated and I half-ass start my regular warm up routine and then something magical happens. Once I’m done with it, I.am.ready.to.dance! My body automatically knows that these movements are going to lead into flamenco dancing, so it’s best to start waking up and being ready!
It seems so simple but it’s true. The ritual of a warm up is the one thing that absolutely always gets me into the right head space to dance. I end up motivated, excited and ready to dance.
Do you have your own flamenco ritual? I’d love to hear about it!
If you need help with your own flamenco ritual or practice, then join me in the Online Flamenco Studio. There we dance with our entire mind, body and soul!