My friend Shyiang from Vancouver has taken LOTS of workshops (even some here in Portland, from Ricardo) She told me once that she would usually just learn the choreographies and then let them go. Her friends would wonder what was wrong with her. They would ask her how she could justify spending the money without even bothering to remember the choreography, without actually using it later.
The thing is, the experience itself was enough for her.
The experience itself made it worth it.
When attending a workshop, you, the student, get to choose. You may choose to go home with a funky new piece, or you may just focus on being there, on the dancing and the learning and the soaking up of that flamenco essence in the moment.
It's really up to you.
It really just depends upon what you want.
Teo Morca suggests deciding ahead of time what you want to get out of your workshop.
A bit of workshop preparation.
What do you want from the experience?
“A workshop is a very special event with many months of training squeezed into a few weeks. It is the time for the teachers and students to feel charged up, psyched to get the most out of a special event. This is a time for learning and growing to your maximum."
I guess part of figuring out what you want from a workshop begins with deciding which one(s) to take. As there are often many types.
There are those focused on Choreography
which can mean many things...
new snazzy moves to incorporate into your repertoire
an entire story complete with a beginning, middle, and end
a chance to apply the technique to a "real" dance
an interesting format to practice correct technique
putting a puzzle together
It can mean any or all of these things. You can keep the choreography or just use it while your experiencing the workshop like Shyiang...
Then there are the Technique-focused ones
which could be about...
perfecting and polishing
truly understanding the how in the execution of a movement
stocking up on new exercises to add to your collection
And, of course, the Specialty workshops
(castanets, por ejemplo...) which might mean
focusing on doing a specific skill correctly
applying the skill in a different way
And Rhythm workshops
which can be about
getting some cool patterns
playing and experimenting
learning how to accompany a dancer, singer, or guitarist
better understanding the compás to support your dancing or playing
gaining a more comprehensive understanding of flamenco in general
laughing (I like to think of palmas classes as the flamenco version of laughter yoga...)
There are all kinds of workshops and all kinds of things you could get from them.
The point is, you decide.
But whatever you decide to focus on...
“When you, the teacher, the students, the aficionado, the flamenco bystander experience an in-depth concentrated flamenco workshop then you come one step closer to ‘becoming’ flamenco, ‘becoming’ the dance. Let’s ‘become’ the dance, the music, the song the feeling.” (Once again, this comes from Teo.)
Workshops can be about so many things. It is something I love about them. And no matter what, they're exciting, and they move us forward. And if you've never tried before, why not see what happens when you set an intention? (Besides helping you get more out of a workshop, it could also help to calm los nervios.)
And, for those of you taking the workshops this weekend, feel free to come to the studio a bit early to prepare and set your intentions. Perhaps we'll do this together during the pre-class clarity sessions. Maybe we'll even do 5 minutes of Shiva Nata before classes to get our brains ready for Ricardo.
I would love to hear what you think. What do you like to take home from workshops? Or do you just like being there? If you're participating in the Immersion with Ricardo López, have you set any goals for yourself? Leave your comments right here.