There's going to class. And then there's going to class and getting the most out of it. Today I'm going to talk about the latter, about how to get the most out of your flamenco class (or workshop) experience.
Ricardo López is constantly giving us tips when he comes in town for workshops. Perhaps just as helpful are little phrases I hear him say over and over again in class. He doesn't really intend them as tips. They are reactions, spoken in the moment. But, oh, these little comments have a lot to tell us.
So, here you go, four comments from Ricardo and four pieces of advice gleaned from them:
No corráis (Don't rush)
Ok, so what flamenco class have we not heard this in? If you pay attention, and even if you don't, you'll hear this one. My best friend says it all of the time. He begs for us not to rush,
"Os ruego...I implore you!!!!!"
It's certainly my natural tendency and many other people's as well. We start going and doing and then forget to listen. Oops.
Listen, respond. Breathe. And, don't rush.
No pasa nada (It's no big deal)
This comment usually results from people freaking out about messing up. All that fear.
Make mistakes. Have fun. This how we learn. If we make no mistakes it means we're not putting in the effort. Try, mess up, and try again. (And try to enjoy the act of learning.)
Lo que sea (Whatever)
This he says often. Because many situations call for exactly that, whatever.
Add a little bit of you to it
It's not about looking exactly like the teacher. The teacher is a guide. We are all different, as Tatiana reminded me that time in Jerez. What looks good on one may not look good on another. What one likes, another may not. Use the teacher as a guide, but dance in a way that looks and feels good to you.
Venid (Come Here)
As in, come closer. Because poco a poco the class often falls further and further back, or from the start we leave an unnecessarily large space between ourselves and the teacher. What does this have to do with anything, you ask? What does it mean beyond simply move your body forward?
A lot. I'm thinking of the fear stuff. Sometimes we try to stay as far from the front as possible so that the teacher won't see us. But, we're in class; this is an opportunity not to be wasted.
Get up there. You want to do this, so do it, fully. Don't hide.
Gracias, Ricardo, for these lessons.
I like hearing these in my head when I'm in class. (I can actually see Ricardo's face as he's saying these things, which makes it feel like he's there, which really makes me feel the need to do as he says, ha!.) But really, hearing him in my head helps to keep me in it. So, try it out, and let me know how it goes.
What helps you get the most out of your flamenco classes? How do you hold yourself back in class? What could you do to get more out of your time there? How do you hold yourself accountable? Let me know in the comments below.
Want More Ways To Get The Most Out of Class?
This is a reworking of this.