Does the thought of taking a flamenco workshop with a master artist from Spain fill you with excitement or fear?
If you're anything like me you feel a little bit of both.
Here are some steps you can take before, during, and after a workshop to help manage any overwhelm that comes up:
Before the workshop
1. Decide what you want to get out of it
Set a workshop goal.
Do you want to master the choreography? Improve upon a specific technique? Get inspired? Become a better learner? Implement the teacher's personal styling? Simply have a fun experience?
2. Get in flamenco form
In the days and weeks leading up to the workshop, practice, attend class, watch flamenco videos online ...
3. Remind yourself that the teacher is a regular person
The thought of studying with a master artist can feel scary. What if they expect too much from us? What if they can't meet our level? What if we can't keep up? Sure, you may be about to study with a world-renowned dancer, but they're still a regular person like you or I.
(And by the way, if it's one of our workshops, the teacher is going to be nice because being kind is a prerequisite for any guest artist we invite over. See what I mean in the video below where Jesús Carmona gives us an idea of what to expect from his classes.)
4. Remind yourself that this is an incredible opportunity.
It might even be a once in a lifetime experience.
So, relax, take it all in, and enjoy yourself!
During the workshop
1. Focus on what you're doing
Don't get distracted comparing yourself to others, thinking that everybody else is picking things up faster than you or doing better that you.
Just keep working on what you need to work on, and,
2. Be there fully
Leave your worries at the door. Allow yourself this time to be completely present and take a short break from your outside obligations.
3. Jot down notes
To help yourself during class or to serve as reminders after the workshop is over.
Use words, pictures, numbers...
4. After class each day, go through parts of the dance that you remember
Run the dance in your mind in the car on the way home, go over it with a friend right after class, practice it by yourself once you get home, dance it in your head before you go to sleep.
Video yourself or a friend doing the day's choreography.
5. Run the steps right before class begins
Do this with a friend or by yourself.
Do the whole dance, just the tricky steps, or whichever steps you can remember.
6. When you feel frustrated, remind yourself of your goal
Why are you doing this?
Don't forget that it is about having fun.
The best learning happens when we're interested, engaged, and enjoying ourselves.
When you feel yourself tensing up, breathe.
After the workshop
1. Congratulate yourself
2. Reflect on what you learned
In what ways did you grow? What did you gain from the experience? What will you do differently next time?
3. Decide what information you want to retain
The whole choreography, the essence, one specific move?
You've decided what you want to hold on to from the workshop, so now it's up to you to make that happen. Practice with a friend, on your own, or with a video.
Pick and choose from the lists above which tips you'd like to implement for yourself during the next workshop you attend. Then be sure to let me know how it goes!
The excitement is definitely building in Portland as we prepare for the upcoming Jesús Carmona Workshops. Here's a short message from him:
How about you?
How do you prepare for a workshop? What do you do once it's over? What is your goal for the next workshop you'll attend? Let me know in the comments below.
Perhaps you'd like to try a workshop in the heart of flamenco country, Jerez, Spain. Join me for the Flamenco Tour to Jerez where you'll get to study in a private workshop with Mercedes Ruíz!
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