In flamenco, we’re always talking about compás. What IS it anyway?
First it’s RHYTHM, the BEAT as in the time and tempo. Being IN rhythm or ON the beat is being IN compás. So, in class, if a dancer is dancing out time, out of rhythm or off beat, I say she’s dancing out of compás.
It can also be a measure of music. So a count of 12 is one compás. We will do this one move for 4 measures, 4 counts of 12– or 4 compases.
But it’s so much more than just being in rhythm or counting measures. The compás is the heartbeat of flamenco. 💓 It’s the source of the movement and expression. You can dance absolutely ANYTHING whether it’s super complicated or super simple and end strongly in compás and both would be brilliant.
Of course, you need to have some flamenco movement vocabulary in your body. But having the compás within you, gives you the confidence and the freedom to truly express yourself.
I’m reminded of this wonderful quote from the La Chana, a dancer who came back to flamenco after a 30 year absence:
“Hago lo que quiero. Soy valiente. Porque la seguridad del compás hace que mis facultades obedezcan a mi alma.“
“I do what I want. I am brave. My confidence in the beat makes my abilities obey my soul.“
OK, so you understand the importance of compás. You know the technique of some footwork pattern and you feel good about it. You practice with solo compás and you *think* that you’re in compás. Then you see the recording of yourself and realize, nope, not in compás.
What do you do? How do you LEARN TO BE IN COMPAS?
Try any of these, then watch the beautiful interview of La Chana below.
1- Play palmas for the solo compas. If you can’t *hear* the compas with solo compas and palmas, then you won’t be able to do the footwork.
2- *Sing* or *say* the soniquete of the footwork while playing palmas. “TAca taCA taca TAca taCA taca” etc
3- Do the footwork and count every bit of it while you’re doing it: 12 and 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5…….. without music or solo compas.
4- Do the footwork WITH solo compas but as slow as possible. Play the music, start playing palmas, *say* the footowork soniquete as you play the palmas, THEN try the footwork.
5- Record yourself! Play it back! Play palmas with it. Is it in compas?I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any questions!