People love flamenco and then they want to try dancing. How hard could it be? You just stomp around with a pretty dress and a scowl, right?
I get questions all the time that go like this, “how many classes until I can dance flamenco?” or “how long until I feel like I’m really dancing?” Dancing with complete passion and abandon like Carmen Amaya is easy, right? Well….
That first class for many students is such an overwhelming experience. The new compás, the coordination, the footwork, the aire. Some stop soon after because flamenco is so difficult. They wanted to DANCE not work on a gazillion other things.
But would a new student of piano expect to play a concerto after six weeks? Of course not. Most would study intensely to gain a certain level of proficiency. Others would happily play at a beginner level forever because it’s just a hobby.
So, it’s the same with flamenco, of course. If you didn’t grow up immersed in flamenco, you either enjoy the challenge of learning and accept it or you’ll just drown with frustration.
Take for example any of my upcoming student shows. The choreographies are challenging. Sometimes some of the dancers can’t get it right away. Or some dancers over extend themselves by wanting to dance as many numbers as possible. Even I can’t do that!
We all want perfection, but that’s impossible.
I constantly tell my dancers to enjoy the process of learning because the actual performance itself goes by so fast. Plus, one might not have that cathartic moment at the end because someone forgot a step, the tempo got too fast, the lights were too blinding, and, and…
If we were perfect at flamenco NOW, then there would be nowhere else to go afterward. It’s the PROCESS of learning flamenco that is so rewarding. We must accept where we are in flamenco proficiency and enjoy it.
What I love about the whole process of dance classes is having to be focused in the moment. There is no thinking about anything outside of class. I love being around my flamencas. We are a community of like-minded women that have fun in class. The challenging aspects keeps us vibrant.
We DO have cathartic moments in class, and that comes from consistency. Yes, the biggest secret to feeling like you’re DANCING is showing up to class consistently and being present with your mind and body.
So, in the end, why bother with flamenco if it’s so dang hard?
I mean really, we do it because we must. There isn’t anything else. We are called to it with all its complexities, challenges and head trips. We hear the guitar and the cante and we’re driven to DANCE.
Be happy where you are but keep being inspired by La Capitana, Carmen Amaya.
Ole! No reason needed for dancing Flamenco! Dance it, feel it, possess it– and to be possessed!