My Blood Calms Your Blood | The Weekly Letra

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My Blood Calms Your Blood | The Weekly Letra

Today's letra is an excerpt from a letter (modified to fit the compás) that Simón Bolivar wrote to Manuela Sáenz, a revolutionary heroine from South America who collaborated with Simón Bolivar and is recognized as a feminist symbol of the 19th century wars of independence. I learned about her last night during the show, Mujeres Valientes produced by Flamenco Vivo Carlota Santana when I went to see Emilio Ochando perform with the company here in New York ...

Legaste de improviso, como siempre
sonriente, notoria eras tú.

Legaste de improviso, como siempre
sonriente, notoria, te miré.

Mi sangre tu sangre calma
tu sangre la mía amansa.

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Five Things Jesús Carmona Says You Must Include in Your Flamenco Dance Practice (With Videos)

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Five Things Jesús Carmona Says You Must Include in Your Flamenco Dance Practice (With Videos)

What should you do if if you have just 15-20 minutes a day to practice?

That’s what a student asked me to find out when I interviewed Jesús Carmona last month.

Here are the five recommendations he shared along with videos to help you get started on your own at home. (Some of what he advises might surprise you.)

1. Abdominal Exercises

The first thing Jesús mentioned was the need to strengthen our abs. Don't know where to start? Try this:

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Cachito de Pan | The Weekly Letra

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Cachito de Pan | The Weekly Letra

I love creating dances with my nieces. It's always a collective effort. I teach them some moves. They make up some of their own. They put in things they've learned with others. We make up some stuff together. And we come up with a dance.

Here's an estribillo por tangos that Diana will be singing for them this weekend at the feria. (It's actually perfect for them considering they're obsessed with bread.)

Tangos
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Ay lere lere lere cachito de pan
Ay lere lere lere cachito de pan
Ay lere lere lere cachito de pan

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A Piece of Advice From Jesús Carmona (Improvise)

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A Piece of Advice From Jesús Carmona (Improvise)

When Jesús Carmona was here he recommended that every student of flamenco improvise a little bit each day. In honor of that, here's a guided exercise in improvisation along with a video and examples of how a letra can vary.

First, the letra:

In the video example the singer interprets the same bulerías letra in two different ways, which makes it great to practice to.

Version One (5 minutes in)

Dime niña hermosa
quién te peina el pelo
RESPIRO (one compás break, 12 beats)
lo peina un estudiante
te lo riza un artillerooooo... de la artillería
que con gracia y salero

con gracia y salero

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Seven Essential Flamenco Dance Lessons From Jesús Carmona

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Seven Essential Flamenco Dance Lessons From Jesús Carmona

Read on for my seven biggest takeaways from this month's workshops with flamenco maestro Jesús Carmona followed by a challenge for you.

Jesús is all about working hard, breaking things down, and holding high expectations all while having fun. A true master teacher. He sees everybody and expects maximum effort from all. He worked us HARD during the workshops in Portland. It was truly satisfying to see and feel the progress that we made in just four days. How can something be semi-torturous yet completely wonderful at the same time?

Here are seven pieces of advice from Jesús that will help you become a better flamenco dancer.

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I Don't Want You To Talk To Anybody | The Weekly Letra

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I Don't Want You To Talk To Anybody | The Weekly Letra

Last week we were blown away by Jesús Carmona here in Portland. He gave workshops and put on a last-minute show, Ensayo de Una Vida, which he created and debuted right here in town! I'll tell you more about that later. For now, here's a letra and a video of Jesús dancing at Corral de la Moreria. (Below the video you can see some pictures from our workshops last week.)

Soleá
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No quiero que hables con nadie
Sólo con tu confesor
con tu padre
con tu madre

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My Top 25 Favorite Flamenco Blog Posts

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My Top 25 Favorite Flamenco Blog Posts

We were named #3 in the Top Flamenco Blogs And Websites Every Flamenco Dancer Must Follow, Best Flamenco Blogs on the Planet by Feedspot Blog Reader. 

That feels exciting!

I started this blog seven years ago at the suggestion of a student just before I left for Spain on the trip that inspired the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. I'm SO grateful that I did as it reconnected me to my love of writing, offered me a new means of expression, and most importantly, turned into a way to help and connect with others along their flamenco journeys. What started as a personal account of my flamenco learning has evolved into educational and informative articles, interviews with artists, translations of flamenco songs, and stories of my travels and flamenco studies.

In celebration of this, today I'd like to share with you some of my favorite posts from the past seven years.

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How To Get The Most Out of A Flamenco Dance Workshop

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How To Get The Most Out of A Flamenco Dance Workshop

Does the thought of taking a flamenco workshop with a master artist from Spain fill you with excitement or fear? 

If you're anything like me you feel a little bit of both.

Here are some steps you can take before, during, and after a workshop to help manage any overwhelm that comes up:

Before the workshop

1. Decide what you want to get out of it

Set a workshop goal.

Do you want to master the choreography? Improve upon a specific technique? Get inspired? Become a better learner? Implement the teacher's personal styling? Simply have a fun experience?

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On a Jesús Carmona Flamenco High | The Weekly Letra

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On a Jesús Carmona Flamenco High | The Weekly Letra

We were all blown away by Jesús Carmona and Company's performance here in Portland this week, "I can't stop thinking about it," one student wrote me, "The best performance I attended in my entire life. Heart stopping," another said. You can see pictures from the evening and a video below.

Now, here's a letra from the show:

Siguiriyas
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Yo me puse en camino
antes del alba
cuando llegue a tu casa
ya clareaba

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I'm Going Alone | The Weekly Letra

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I'm Going Alone | The Weekly Letra

The Festival de Jerez is in full swing right now, so today I'll share with you a video from there taken earlier this week of Ana Morales with Juan José Amador singing her this letra:

Livianas
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A la orilla de un río
yo me voy solo
y aumento la corriente
con lo que lloro

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A Dream of Love | The Weekly Letra

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A Dream of Love | The Weekly Letra

Today, to wrap up love month, a song that falls on the tragic side of love.

This one was on a compilation CD I purchased soon after returning from Spain the first time. I would listen to it over and over again.

Following the words you'll find a collection of videos one of which is Pepe de Lucía and his daughter Malú singing it live, another from the Spanish version of The Voice, one of a little boy who will blow you away, one with some very cool dancing, and one from La Macanita.

Sueño De Amor (Al Alba)
Pepe de Lucía

Al alba
Te marchaste al alba
Llenaste mi cuerpo con el fuego de tu amor
Y te fuiste al alba
Y al alba, y al alba

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Bulerías Heart & Soul: An Interview With Ana María López

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Bulerías Heart & Soul: An Interview With Ana María López

What does it feel like to have been the first teacher to some of the most famous flamenco dancers from Jerez?

That's a question I asked Ana María López, one of the most influential flamenco instructors in Jerez, Spain, in the video interview you'll see below.

Sitting down with Ani . . . 

In the interview Ani, as she's affectionately known, talks about how she grew up surrounded by flamenco in the San Miguel neighborhood of Jerez, began studying dance as a little girl, and later grew into one of the most well-known bulerías instructors around. She has been the primary teacher to some of the greatest flamenco dancers working today such as Mercedes Ruíz, Patricia Ibañez, and Carmen Herrera. Naturally, we study bulerías with her during the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Watch through to the end of the video where you'll see her in the studio demonstrating how to dance bulerías with the cante and feel the joyful essence of Jerez.

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