Fiesta Por Tangos | The Weekly Letra

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Fiesta Por Tangos | The Weekly Letra

You're going to love listening to the tangos in the video below (Trrrrrust me). And the way it's filmed makes you feel like you're right there at the fiesta, so go ahead, play along with palmas. Here's one of the letras you'll hear:

Tangos

Tú te colocas y en frente de mí,
que por si acaso yo me caigo pa' trás
empújale el columpio más

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A Tangos For You | The Weekly Letra

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A Tangos For You | The Weekly Letra

Here's a tangos letra and a video (that you'll love) of La Lupi dancing to it. Enjoy!

Tangos de la Repompa
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En el cristal de mi copa
tu cara se reflejó,
y aquel poco de licor
que yo me llevé a la boca
de veneno me sirvió.
Mientes como hay Dios

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The Ultimate Bulerías Goal | The Weekly Letra

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The Ultimate Bulerías Goal | The Weekly Letra

The moon is almost full, so I've included a lunar themed letra for you. (Though this one would make more sense on a new moon...) And since yesterday's video analysis was a hit, I decided to do another. Below you'll find a video of Beatríz Morales dancing to today's letra and giving many clear examples of what it looks like to dance to the cante along with my description of where each component of the structure occurs within her dance. Check it out, and find out what the ultimate bulerías goal is.

Bulerías

Esta noche la luna a mí no me acompaña
Me voy solo pa' casa
No espero al alba
La luna se ha enfadado por no llevarla
anoche a la verbena de Santa Ana
No me enfades luna, tú no me enfades.

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Bulerías Made Simple [The Structure of a Bulerías Dance & How It Relates to the Cante]

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Bulerías Made Simple [The Structure of a Bulerías Dance & How It Relates to the Cante]

Bulerías is arguably one of the hardest flamenco forms to dance due to it's improvisational nature, complex rhythm, and nuanced cante. But dancing bulerías is less mysterious than you may think. Once you understand the components of the dance and how they relate to the music (the singing and the compás) you'll be well on your way to obtaining bulerías freedom.

Below l explain the basic bulerías por fiesta structure and how it relates to the cante. After that you'll find a video of Pastora Galván along with an analysis describing where she dances each component of the structure. Finally I give you an activity to help you internalize the information.

The basic structure of bulerías

Bulerías, like other flamenco forms, has its own language. When we dance we are in conversation with the singer, the guitarist, and the palmeros. The structure offers a formula for clear communication, and it looks like this:

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Should I Put Myself Out There? (& Why Should I Listen to Flamenco Music?) | The Weekly Letra

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Should I Put Myself Out There? (& Why Should I Listen to Flamenco Music?) | The Weekly Letra

Thinking about that first trip to Spain in 1998 has reminded me that I need to step it up in the doing things that scare the *#%~&> out of me category. Read on for a lesson around that idea and more of my story from that first trip. Also, find out why it's essential to listen to flamenco music, read a letra about Sevilla, then see a video of Juana la del Revuelo, Aurora Vargas, and Remedios Amaya ...

During my time in Sevilla I saw these women perform. During my time in Sevilla I saw these women perform live. As you'll see from the video below, it was wonderful. Their CDs were among some of the first I purchased once I accepted the fact that I needed to start listening to flamenco music. You see, in the beginning I wasn't very interested in listening to the music, especially cante, unless I was dancing, but Chris convinced me to start listening. He said I needed to do this to understand and internalize the compás.

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits  . . .  (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits . . . (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

In 1998 I traveled to Spain to study flamenco. My plan was simple (and not very well thought out): Travel around, settle somewhere in Andalucía, find flamenco classes, find work. I had no contacts in Spain, no leads on where to study or work. I didn’t even know what city I was going to live in.

I just knew that if I wanted to learn flamenco I needed to go to Spain.

Today I'll tell you about finding flamenco in Sevilla, what it taught me about perseverance, and how it can help you.

I didn't plan much before I left for Spain. In part because I wanted to get a feel for the different cities before choosing where to settle. In part because thinking it through felt too overwhelming, and the more I thought about the details, the more I thought about changing my mind and staying put. I spoke Spanish, I had a strong desire to learn, I had saved enough money to hold me over for awhile, I felt ready for an adventure, and I knew I could figure things out once I arrived.

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One Way to Train Your Ear So That You Dance Well With the Cante | The Weekly Letra

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One Way to Train Your Ear So That You Dance Well With the Cante | The Weekly Letra

Today you'll find two videos of the same letra, one version as tangos, the other as bulerías... 

Dancing flamenco is never just about the dancing. It is a conversation between the dancer and the musicians. As dancers we need to hear where the changes and resolutions are in the music (especially the cante) so that we can respond with our dancing. Below find an activity that you can do from home to train your ear to dance with the cante.

And speaking of cante, we worked with the following letra during the Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast last weekend. (See some pictures below). We looked at where the cante resolved then put in remates with palmas and later baile to reflect that. Watch María Toledo sing it por tangos and Marina García sing it por bulerías below:

Tangos (& Bulerías)
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No me pegues bocaítos
Que tú me haces cardenales
Cuando yo voy a mi casa
A mí me los nota mi madre

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A Peek At The Feria (Video) | The Weekly Letra

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A Peek At The Feria (Video) | The Weekly Letra

Traditional festivals (ferias) take place in towns big and small across southern Spain during the springtime. Locals dress up, dance, sing, eat, and have A LOT of fun. There are the bigger ferias (those of Sevilla, Jerez...) and there are the smaller ferias (those of Sanlúcar, El Puerto...). These exclusive springtime ferias are unique to Andalucía, and each one has its very own encanto (charm). One of the great things about the feria is that there you get to see both professionals and everyday people dancing flamenco; some may not dance very well technically, but they dance from the heart.

Below you'll see a video of Samara and Rocío Carrrasco at this year's Feria del Caballo in Jerez along with pictures from a variety of ferias in Andalucía.

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For Mom | The Weekly Letra

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For Mom | The Weekly Letra

This one is dedicated to all the beautiful mothers, Happy Mother's Day! (Thank you, Mom!)

Madre Hermosa (Copla)
Juanito Valderrama

Ay, mi mare!, 
como un rayito de luna
regüerto con azahares. 
Mare hermosa, 
vieja de pena por dentro, 
por fuera como una rosa. 
Mare buena, 
con los ojitos de novia
y la cara de azucena. 
¡Qué alegría cuando
le digo a la gente: 
qué guapa la mare mía! 

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Happy International Dance Day  |  The Weekly Letra

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Happy International Dance Day | The Weekly Letra

Today in honor of International Dance Day, I have a couple of videos to share with you that will surely make you want to move. You'll love how into it Paloma Fantova gets in the first video. After that watch Parrita sing today's letra. 

¡Feliz Día Internacional de la Danza!

El Agua Más Cristalina (Chorus)
El Parrita

El agua más cristalina
El vaso más reluciente

El mejor mantel que tenga voy a ponerle
No viene a cenar cualquiera

Viene el señor de señores
Y el rey de reyes

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Where To See Flamenco Dance in Madrid

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Where To See Flamenco Dance in Madrid

It’s pretty easy to find places to see flamenco in Madrid. The challenge is knowing where to find quality flamenco. (Yes, you can see plenty of mediocre flamenco even in Spain, and if you’re in Spain, you definitely want to see the good stuff!) So today I'll tell you about four places you can go to see quality flamenco in Madrid, show you some videos of fantastic dancers in action, and address the idea of the 'touristy' flamenco show.

The Flamenco Tablao

One of the best ways to experience flamenco in Madrid is to visit a tablao, a place where flamenco is performed. Here are four tablaos where you can (usually) count on seeing good flamenco in Madrid:

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Mercedes | The Weekly Letra

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Mercedes | The Weekly Letra

Today's post is not a flamenco letra; it is an acrostic that was written for Mercedes Ruíz when she was about eleven years old. It is written on this photo that hangs on a wall at the Peña Los Cernícalos. 

Mercedes
Es, Jerez de la Frontera,
Rica sal de Andalucía,
Conquistando a España entera,
Ella se llama altanera,
Dichosa, como su abuela,
Este nombre de solera
Soy niña de la Plazuela.

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How To Learn From A Mistake

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How To Learn From A Mistake

Make mistakes, but don’t make the same mistake twice. 

This piece of advice comes from Ricardo López, one of our favorite guest artists who was here for two weeks last month. Find out how to make the most out of your mistakes, and see pictures from Ricardo's workshops and performances below.

Mistakes are essential. They are an inevitable part of learning, and they provide us with opportunities to grow. An absence of mistakes means we are not trying. However, repeating the same mistake over and over again means we are choosing not to improve.

It is up to us to learn from our mistakes.

Here's how...

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