For ten days we simulated being in class with Mercedes Ruíz. We touched on breathing, keeping the shoulders down, maintaining plié, using the hands and fingers well, practicing slowly and deliberately, skirt and non-dominant arm awareness, posture and engaging the core, keeping the arms round, dancing (really dancing), and putting forth effort.
The challenge may be officially over, but I encourage you to keep working on these skills. They will serve you for the rest of your flamenco life, and through repetition they will get better and better.
Read on for some thoughts on repetition, reflection, and guidance on how to continue the challenge on your own.
Mercedes says this all the time when we’re learning choreography because, like any good teacher, she has us do things again and again and again. And we don't just repeat choreography, we revisit technique exercises too.
We repeat movements so that they become natural.
You’ve been repeating the same move(s) with a different focus each day of the challenge. I wonder, how has the repetition affected your dancing?
I’ve become much more comfortable with the material I’ve been working with from both the repetition and being focused in my practice. I made discoveries around how to better use my body and my muscles, when I was ignoring certain parts of my body or stopping the energy, and when I was accidentally engaging in bad habits. The daily challenge motivated me to practice at least a little bit each day and helped imprint these technical reminders in my system.
What About You?
On the repetition of a move: What did you gain from revisiting the same move or combination, viewing it from different angles during the challenge? Has it become easier? Have you learned to do it better? What discoveries have you made? Do you dance it with greater ease? Do you look better doing it? What did you learn about yourself as a dancer?
On the challenge in general: What did you learn about yourself as a learner? What will you take from the challenge into your flamenco classes or practices? What skill do you need to work on the most?
Please share in the comments below!
Would You Like to Study With Mercedes Ruíz for Real?
Join me for the Fall Flamenco Tour to Jerez for a private flamenco dance workshop with Mercedes! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to travel to Spain to study flamenco but felt too afraid or overwhelmed to actually go, this is the trip for you. It's a personalized flamenco vacation where all levels are welcome. Get the details here.
Want to Keep Going?
If you're looking for motivation to continue with your practice, check out the Dancing with David Romero Mini-Challenge. There are activities around: