Eight Flamenco Dance Lessons Learned From Emilio Ochando

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Eight Flamenco Dance Lessons Learned From Emilio Ochando

Last weekend we studied flamenco dance with Emilio Ochando. In class we were reminded that learning steps is one thing while learning how to execute them and use our bodies well is another thing. Below find eight lessons I took away from the workshops with Emilio: 

1. Accent

Create accents with the body, the hands, the feet. This gives your dance dynamics and personality.

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No Somos Dos | The Weekly Letra

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No Somos Dos | The Weekly Letra

The other day a friend of mine shared with me the video you see below of Niña Pastori and her husband Chaboli. She is singing a letra written by her father in law, El Jeros, and it is SO beautiful. So, I share it with you today. Enjoy!

From 'Somos Dos'
El Jeros

No somos dos, somos doscientos
Somos el mundo, el universo
Somos los mares, somos los vientos
Somos la nieve, somos la escarcha
Somos la luz que brilla en el alma

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Petenera | The Weekly Letra

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Petenera | The Weekly Letra

Today find a peteneras letra and a video of Mercedes Ruíz interpreting it.

Petenera

Yo no creo ni en mi madre
Aunque de mí hable la gente
Que todo en este mundo es mentira
Madre de mi corazón
No hay más verdad que la muerte
No hay quién me lo contradiga

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A Mini-Interview with Emilio Ochando (Video)

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A Mini-Interview with Emilio Ochando (Video)

It's always fun to get a sneak peek into a flamenco dancer's life. So here's a brief video interview I did with Emilio Ochando last time he was in Portland. You'll find out what he enjoys about both teaching and performing as well as what kind of pre-performance rituals he does. Watch to the end for some outtakes. (The volume is low, and the quality is not the best, but don't worry, there are subtitles. Plus it gives you a chance to see just how gosh-darn cute this incredibly talented guy is!)

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Las Penas Que Tú Me Das | The Weekly Letra

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Las Penas Que Tú Me Das | The Weekly Letra

Today, this first day of February, a letra from Manuel Machado along with a video of Paco de Lucía, La Tana, Duquende, Montse Cortés, Niño Josele, Antonio Serrano, Alain Perez, and El Piraña. 

Malagueñas
Manuel Machado

Las penas que tú me das
son penas y no son penas;
que tienen cositas malas,
y tienen cositas buenas.

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Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

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Fifty Life Lessons from Flamenco

During last weekend's Flamenco Retreat at the Oregon Coast (which I'm still on a high from by the way and which you can see pictures of below) we all agreed that flamenco teaches us about life and about ourselves

So, today I share with you fifty life lessons I've gleaned from flamenco.

Fifty Lessons:

(This list is full of links in case you'd like to dive deeper into some of the lessons.)

  1. Listen to your intuition, and trust your instincts.
  2. Express your true feelings
  3. Be present.
  4. Stand beautifully in your power.
  5. Prepare. (Really prepare.)
  6. Take risks.
  7. Focus.
  8. Act with intention.
  9. The answers are in the mirror, so look.
  10. Show up.

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How To Follow Through With Your Flamenco (or any) New Year's Resolution

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How To Follow Through With Your Flamenco (or any) New Year's Resolution

Raise your hand if you want your flamenco new year's resolution to be about more than just January. Raise your hand if you want to make it stick. My hand is raised, and I'm guessing yours is too. So today I'll give you one more tool to help you follow through with your resolution. (If you've not made one yet, no problem. The energy of the new year is still upon us.)

As I've been taking action on my flamenco resolution in this new year, I've noticed something (in addition to my plan) that is really helping me to stick with it and that's an awareness of why I want it. I'll tell you more about my resolution later, but first, let's go deeper into this why stuff.

When setting your resolution, or when reflecting upon it, it's important to consider your why.

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Four Steps To Making a Flamenco New Year's Resolution Happen

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Four Steps To Making a Flamenco New Year's Resolution Happen

Happy New Year!

Did you know that people are more likely to follow through with a commitment to change set at the onset of the new year than at other times of the year?

In light of that, let’s talk flamenco new year’s resolutions. Below I’ll guide you through a three step process to putting a flamenco new year’s resolution into place for 2017. 

But first, let’s reflect briefly on 2016. 

  1. How has your flamenco improved during the last year? Write down or make a mental note of all of the ways you progressed over past year.
  2. How did you make that happen? Review your list, and consider what accounted for each improvement. What actions did you take to get better? (Remember those; you might use them in step two below.)
  3. Congratulations! 

Now it’s time to look toward the new year and start thinking about flamenco new year’s resolutions.

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How to Have a Party | The Weekly Letra

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How to Have a Party | The Weekly Letra

One year comes to an end, another begins. Which means ... It's time to party! Read Manuel Machado's words on how we might do this flamenco style, and watch a video of Montse Cortés and Chonchi Heredia singing it live with Paco de Lucia below.

Then check out the end of this post where I share four flamenco events I'm looking forward to in the coming year.

(Bulerías)
Manuel Machado

Una fiesta se hace
con tres personas: 
Uno baila, otro canta
y el otro toca. 
Ya me olvidaba
de los que dicen ¡Olé! 
y tocan palmas.

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Villancicos de Gloria | The Weekly Letra

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Villancicos de Gloria | The Weekly Letra

Today a villancico along with two interpretations. One is a video of La Macanita singing in Carlos Saura's Flamenco and the other is Manuel Lombo performing live at the cathedral in Sevilla.

Villancicos de Gloria

Los caminos se hicieron, 
con agua, viento y frío. 
Caminaba un anciano,  
muy triste y afligido ¡A la Gloria!
A su bendita madre, victoria!
Gloria al recién nacido, ¡Gloria! 

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Today I Want To See You | The Weekly Letra

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Today I Want To See You | The Weekly Letra

Today a bulerías by Luis de la Pica along with a video and a rhythm and coordination activity for you to do from home.

Bulerías                
Luis de la Pica

Hoy tengo ganas de verte   
echo de menos tus labios                            
del color del pino verde

Today I want to see you
I miss your lips                 
the color of green pine

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Flamenco Holiday Gift Guide: Eight Gift Ideas For The Flamenco Lover

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Flamenco Holiday Gift Guide: Eight Gift Ideas For The Flamenco Lover

What’s on your flamenco holiday wish list? And more importantly, have you shared it with your friends and family because, the truth is, they might not know how to shop for a flamenco lover such as yourself. 

Not quite sure what to ask for? See below for eight holiday gift ideas for any budget:

1. Gift Certificate for Flamenco Classes

Gift certificates for flamenco lessons in Portland are available in any amount, starting at just $5. Contact us to purchase.

(And right now, $100 buys $115 toward classes! In other words, a $115 gift certificate costs just $100; that's 13% off. Find out about the Holiday Gift Certificate Sale Here.) 

2. Online Flamenco Classes

For the dancer who’s looking for supplemental instruction or who’s unable to make it to in-person classes, online flamenco lessons are a great option. Both Flamenco Bites and Rina Orellana Flamenco offer excellent online instruction. You can read my full article about online learning here.     

3. Metronome

Without a doubt, every flamenco student NEEDS a metronome. And thankfully, they’re easy to find. Any local music store will have one.

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Los Ejes De Mi Carreta | The Weekly Letra

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Los Ejes De Mi Carreta | The Weekly Letra

One Saturday during the last Flamenco Tour to Jerez, after finishing class with Mercedes Ruíz, we showered and headed over to El Porrón for a lunchtime fiesta. José Luís had gotten us some delicious merluza fish from El Puerto de Santa María which Maribel prepared along with lots of aliños (marinated salads), a guiso (stew), and other goodies. Zorri sang, José Luís sang, Maribel danced, we danced, people stopped in to say hello. Afterward we went home and rested so that we could go out and see more flamenco later that night.

During the fiesta Zorri sang the song below. It is originally a milonga, but he sang it his way, por bulerías.

You can see pictures of that fiesta below, and if you're looking for a dose of alegría (happiness), DEFINITELY watch this video of Zorri dancing for us during bulerías class. I call Zorri El Embajador de la Alegría, The Ambassador of Happiness. One can't not feel happy around him, and watching him dance, well, it can make your face hurt from smiling so much.

At the end of the post you can listen to Atahualpa Yupanqui sing the song in its original form.

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I Give Thanks to Life | The Weekly Letra

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I Give Thanks to Life | The Weekly Letra

I used to listen to Niña Pastori's, María album all. of. the. time. (And it has the scratches to prove it.) Here's an excerpt from the song Dime Quién Soy Yo along with two video interpretations. 

Enjoy, and thank you for being here.

Gracias por estar aquí.

From Dime Quién Soy Yo
M. Rosa García "Niña Pastori" / J. Jimenez "Chaboli"

Le doy gracias a la vida
porque tengo lo que quiero
alguien que por mi suspira
aunque sea desde el cielo

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