Sevillanas at the Fería de Caballo in Jerez

Sevillanas at the Fería de Caballo in Jerez

Summer (and it's still summer) has been fun and funny in Sevillanas class, and I mean funny in a good way.

Funny laughing a lot while dancing with partners...

And trying to remember what step to do when while looking directly at someone as opposed to looking at yourself in the mirror

Or doing the coplas out of order and forgetting which one we were on

Or the music feeling crazy-fast and us feeling like we were running a marathon just to stay in compás all the while trying to remember the pasos

Or nearly bumping into our partners several thousand times (or perhaps actually bumping into them)

And there were other funny things, I just can't remember them all right now.  This past Saturday felt wild with almost all new people in class as almost all of the regulars were out of town.  (We missed you regular sevillanas people!...But what fun too with all of the new folks)  And we started the fourth copla, which felt suuuuuuuuuper strange to the people who had learned a different version.  There was a lot of brain shaking going on.

And, now, my weird way of explaining Sevillanas:

You'll find the steps to all four Sevillanas below.

And even further below, for those who really wish to get technical, there are some additional rhythmic notes. - I definitely advise you NOT to read that part if you're just a doer and if dissecting dances and such drives you bananas!

Please remember that there are many variations to Sevillanas.  This is just one.  It's my interpretation of a version I learned in Jerez...and the one being taught right now in Sevillanas Class.  Does this mean everyone in Jerez dances Sevillanas this way?  Noooooooooo, it's just my take on a version that I learned there and LOVE.  It feels muy flamenca, muy Jerez, and, I've been told by students in class, muy elegante.  And the cool thing is, if you do this version with someone who dances them differently, it still works.  (I promise; we've tried it.) Anyway, after studying for awhile, you'll likely come up with some variations of your own, Olé!  Just be sure to do your pasadas always at the designated times if dancing with a partner.

The Steps for Each Copla

1ª/Primera 5 Pasos de Sevillana | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 3 marcajes (fwd) | 2 golpes or golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 4 pasadas | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot Vuelta | Final

2ª/Segunda Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 3 marcajes (step/slide) | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 5 waltz steps | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 7 steps walking | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot Vuelta | Final

3ª/Tercera Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 5 marcajes around in circle | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | Footwork 3 times | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | Pasada | 2 golpes | 5 marcajes around in circle | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot Vuelta | Final

4ª/Cuarta Paso de Sevillana | Diagonal marcaje w/slap | 2 golpes or Golpe-scoot | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 1 carrera moving | 2 waltz steps | half carrera moving | Vuelta | Pasada Paso de Sevillana | 2 golpes | 3 & half carreras moving (or 7 waltz steps moving) Vuelta | Final

The Steps in Relation to the Cante Recognizing certain constants within the dance can get us back on track should we ever get lost while dancing.  It can also be beneficial for organizing all of the information in our brains.

In all four Sevillanas we:

  • Begin with the right foot forward
  • Begin with a Paso de Sevillana
  • Do a Pasada at the end of each cante section
  • Do a Paso de Sevillana during the transition between each cante section (after the above-mentioned pasada)
  • End with the cante with the left foot forward & right arm up (Ahhh - no matter what, we can always end well!)

And to go with that, Some Rhythmic Notes

Toshi explained this way of counting to me.  I was resistant at first, but as I studied the cante, it made so much sense and really helped me connect the dance to the singing.

Soooo, after an introduction by the singer, the guitar plays & we begin with a Sevillanas step, ALWAYS.

Then the first section of cante begins as we continue with the dance.

(Here is that part you ought not read if you don't like to get too theoretical.  Don't say I didn't warn you...)

We can count each section of cante as ten sets of 3 (1,2,3 2,2,3, etc.) "ending" on the first beat of the tenth set. (So...1,2,3 2,2,3, 3,2,3 4,2,3, 5,2,3 6,2,3, 7,2,3 8,2,3, 9,2,3, 10...) If you're really a numbers person you might like to know that the preparation for the pasada happens with the cante, ALWAYS beginning on the 8 with the actual pasada on the 9. Oh, and be aware that the singer will often hold the last note, going into the musical interlude which leads us to:

The musical interlude - A transition to the next bit of cante (...2,3, 1,2,3, 1,2.) during which time we ALWAYS (another constant) do a Sevillanas step.

Ok, so the second section of cante begins after the two-beat accent shown above in bold) Same transition as before, and we're into...

Angela takes some notes in class

Angela takes some notes in class

The third section of cante. We end our dance on the "10" (which is actually a 1; the first beat of the tenth set of 3) Are you still with me? I may have lost myself in all of these numbers. ---  The very wonderful thing is that this way of looking at it works with any variation of Sevillanas you've learned.

I recently came across this site, a good resource and fun for practicing Spanish as well.

I like this one too.

Have something to say about Sevillanas?  ¿Y cómo se dice "scoot" en español?  Students who've been in class this summer, any stories to tell?  Leave a comment below.

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