Last weekend we studied flamenco dance with Emilio Ochando. In class we were reminded that learning steps is one thing while learning how to execute them and use our bodies well is another thing. Below find eight lessons I took away from the workshops with Emilio:
Create accents with the body, the hands, the feet. This gives your dance dynamics and personality.
2. Stay in time
Mainly, don't rush! "Time is time," Emilio said to us over and over again. He says that one of the reasons people tend to rush footwork is because they let their tacones fall. By accenting your footwork, you are more likely to control your heels and more likely to stay in time.
"Front is front." Emilio would tell us as we moved through turn combinations. It's amazing the impact that one little reminder can have on the outcome of your turn. Whether your spot is in front, to the side, to the diagonal, know where it is, and focus there and only there when you turn.
4. Feel your center
Concentrate on your core. While doing footwork, while turning, while marking, while doing anything!
And along those lines...
5. Bring the energy of your body up
"Up is up," Emilio would tell us. If we lose connection with the core, our body drops, and so does our energy.
6. Be aware of your body positioning
Especially the elbows. Lead with your elbows, and keep them up. Keep the shoulders down. Move along the diagonal...
"Thinking, thinking, thinking," Emilio would say. He wanted us to be one hundred percent present, focused, and concentrated on the execution of each movement.
Which leads me to,
8. Feel the sensations
This concept is more advanced than the others, and is important to grasp in order to take your dancing to the next level. Emilio challenged us to find the 'sensations' in our bodies, to really do it, rather than just move through a series of steps.
What Lessons Would You Add?
Can you relate to the lessons above. How so? Any lessons that you learned from Emilio that are not on the list? Add them in the comments below.
More Good Stuff Coming Up
Ricardo López of Madrid, Spain will be here soon for more flamenco workshops and performances! Find out more here.
If you want to know how people felt after studying with Emilio and other guest artists, you can find out here.