What should you do if if you have just 15-20 minutes a day to practice?
That’s what a student asked me to find out when I interviewed Jesús Carmona last month.
Here are the five recommendations he shared along with videos to help you get started on your own at home. (Some of what he advises might surprise you.)
1. Abdominal Exercises
The first thing Jesús mentioned was the need to strengthen our abs. Don't know where to start? Try this:
2. Footwork Technique
Here is a demonstration of basic footwork techniques: planta (ball), tacón (heel), golpe (stomp), punta (toe) and how you might combine them from Carmen Tort Flamenco. In the video they explain in Spanish to keep your knees slightly bent while performing your footwork.
3. Arm Technique
Here is a sequence of arm exercises from Sara Martín Flamenco. (Though there is no explanation included, it's set up in a way that you can follow along to and feel like you're dancing.)
Jesús says that even if we don't wish to be choreographers it is important for every flamenco student to practice playing around and improvising, and he suggest dedicating five minutes each practice session to developing this skill. So put on some music and go!
(If you'd like to practice improvising por bulerías, check this out.)
The videos I've included are only some of the many available online resources. Each video will lead you to others. So, explore, try things out, and find some that you like and are appropriate for your level.
Stick around for my video interview with Jesús where he talks about how he got started in flamenco, challenges he's faced as a dancer, how he approaches teaching, and more.
What About You?
How much time outside of class do you dedicate to practice? What do you do? Can you incorporate some of Jesus’s suggestions into your routine? What videos did you find online that you'd like to practice with? Let me know in the comments below.