Welcome to my new series of blog posts, Unleash the Flamenco Beast, where I go over various ways to improve your dancing physically and mentally. I’m really excited to be presenting this and I hope you get a lot out of them!
I get asked all the time, “Rina, how can I get better in flamenco?” That is a loaded question, because there are SO many different answers, and we’ll explore them in the posts. However, here is one of the most obvious.
If you really want to improve in flamenco, you have to PRACTICE outside of class.
I know, very unglamorous, but it’s the truth. Many people are just happy to have the exercise and social interaction in class and don’t want to practice outside of class. That is totally fine.
But, if you want to really get better, you have to practice. How to practice, you ask?
If you can go to the studio and pound on the floor whatever you learned in class IN COMPAS with a solo compás recording, that’s the ideal.
(Now, if you don’t have access to classes, or you need more material, then take a look at my free online flamenco dance lessons.)
Solo compás are didactic / educational recordings with the various flamenco rhythms (palos) at differing tempos using a drum machine or guitar, specifically for practicing.
If you can’t get to the studio, buy a piece of plywood from the home improvement store, put a clear coat on it and you’ll be ready at any time to practice IN COMPAS at home.
I can’t emphasize enough to practice with a solo compás recording as much as you can. Dancing with the drum machine will truly help you internalize the compás. (Compás means the measure of music, but also staying in rhythm.)
Practice any footwork or marking steps you have super slow with special emphasis on the accents before practicing it at a normal tempo. Then you can challenge yourself and try it at a tempo that is uncomfortably fast.
These are recordings available on iTunes and feature a different palo (flamenco rhythm) for each cd.
- Solo Compás series
- Escuela de Flamenco series
- Ritmo Flamenco series
- El Baile Flamenco series
- Jose Tanaka Compás Flamenco (from Los Angeles!)
There are also apps that have solo compás. My favorite is Dr. Compás, available on the Mac app store.
So, there you have it. Just like in learning a language or a musical instrument, if you want to get better, you have to put in your time and PRACTICE CORRECTLY!
Thanks for reading! Look out for the next installment of the Unleash the Flamenco Beast Series where I talk about how to LISTEN to flamenco music.
Do you have any questions on how to practice? Let me know here!
Hasta pronto! Rina
photo credit: “La Pescailla.”
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