This bit of advice is going to be very difficult for you to handle. If you want to become a better flamenco dancer, you must watch flamenco. I know, I know soooo hard to do! HA!
Of course, if you’re a flamenco aficionado, you watch flamenco every chance you get! Shows, clips on YouTube or Facebook. We watch it constantly. It’s so inspiring to watch a true artist dance.
But next time whether it’s a live performance or watching a video, study the whole number. Once you’ve had more exposure to flamenco, you’ll learn the vocabulary of all the components. Generally, though, there are letras (singing verses), falsetas (guitar melodic solos), escobillas (footwork sections) and an ending.
A true professional dancer can lead the whole cuadro with her movement and basically tell the musicians beforehand, “I want 2 letras por Alegrias with 2 letras of Bulerias.”
Of course, there are lots of variations and other elements in between, but the basic elements are always there. Here is a more detailed guide.
- Guitarist plays an opening falseta.
- Singer sings an entrada (all the ay, ay, ays).
- Dancer walks out and begins a llamada (the dance break that calls the singer). It could be one to four compases (measures), normally. Dancer MUST end the llamada with intention, clearly showing the singer that it’s time to SING!
- Dancer dances letra (verse), listening and responding to the singer.
- After the letra, the guitarist may play a falseta (beautiful guitar interlude), so the dancer must really listen and dance to the pretty music.
- Then the dancer can either do another llamada for a second letra or go straight into an escobilla (footwork section).
- The dancer should build up the tempo in the escobilla to finish with another clear llamada for the Bulería (The end letra. It can also be Tangos or the Macho in Seguirilla.)
- Now the dancer dances the Bulería and can finish off with doing a desplante (another call) to the corner. This tell the singer to sing an estribillo (the verse to sing you off the stage).
- The dancer finishes the dance by either dancing off with the estribillo and finishing with a little break or doing another subida(footwork build up) in the middle of the stage after the estribillo and ending with a break.
So, there you have it. Your complete framework for a solo!
YOUR ACTION PLAN FOR TODAY: WATCH your favorite YouTube video of a complete choreography and IDENTIFY the sections mentioned above.
The installment of the Unleash the Flamenco Beast Series is all about STRENGTHENING YOUR BODY for flamenco dance. So be sure to look out for it! Thanks for reading!
Hasta pronto! Rina
Photo credit: “La Pescailla”
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