I took my castanets for a little walk this evening. But, let's back up.

Last Saturdayafter we all felt thoroughly messed up from our shiva nata inspired activity connecting different arm positions to different rhythmic sounds, I told everyone about how much fun and confusing it can be to jump around and jog back and forth while playing castanets.  It helps me get into the flow, helps to get things going in my brain and body.  Then we started joking around about jogging through Portland playing castanets, and, naturally, we pretended to do so.

It's not like this is something totally new.

Ricardo has told me stories about how he and Manuel Liñan used to walk around the park in Madrid practicing pirouettes and such.  Let's just take a moment to imagine that.


And what about Tatiana racing her friend down the street in Jerez doing latigos?

Flamenco can be practiced in all kinds of places and in all kinds of ways.  We know that.

But back to las castañuelas.

Lately I've been taking my castanets on hikes in the campo.  I make sure they have their baby socks on so as not to be obnoxious and bother the wildlife…or my hiking partner.  Danica gave us the baby socks tip last time she was here, as a way to silence them for at home practice.

So I've been wanting to take them on walks in town, but fear of embarrassment has held me back.  Even though we are in Portland, Oregon

Well, I got over that today.  I really wanted to go for a short walk this evening, and I really wanted to practice for a bit.  So I just took my castanets with me.

And it was great.

I was still able to enjoy the things I enjoy about taking a walk.  I was still able to run my hand across the rosemary I passed and have a sniff.  Still able to notice the views of the city on a sunny October day...

And though I passed many people few really even seemed to look at them.  Except for that one little kid.  The first woman I passed commented only on my bright orange running shoes.  "Nice shoes!"  she said happily as she walked by.  She paid no mind to the black things on my hands wearing pink baby socks.

And walking offers all kinds of new possibilities.

Since you can't really hear the castanets well, you are challenged to connect to what that feels like in the body to be in compás.

Of course, you can also just play them to exercise your fingers not worrying about the rhythm.

Or you can coordinate the rhythms of the castanets with the rhythm of your steps.

Or try to go against the rhythm of your steps.

Or make up games like playing ría when going uphill, ta pi ta pi ta pi  when going downhill.

So who knows?  Perhaps come springtime we'll even have some outdoor castanets offerings involving walking and such.

Until then, we'll keep playing with them at the studio on Saturdays.  Stefani will be facilitating Saturday Practice Sessions while I am in Spain.

And don't forget, Adriana Maresma Fois will also be here while I'm away for a weekend workshop Oct. 27 & 28!

I wonder what you think about all of this.  You can leave a comment here.