Debby, one of the students on the last fall’s Flamenco Tour to Jerez sent me this summary of her experience a few days upon returning home with this note. “Thank you again for a 100% approval trip. Here is how I truly felt.” If you’re curious about what happens on the Flamenco Tour, read on:
Written by Debby
The moment I landed in the US, what had happened in the past two weeks suddenly ceased to be a reality. It must be a dream, I told myself, by simply clapping your hands (palmas), you are in rhythm with the flamenco lifestyle--- a solid class schedule, flamenco shows every night, fine food and wine, walking tours, and meeting local flamenco VIPs. Yes, through Laura’s connections and arrangements , it’s that easy.
My predication of a successful flamenco trip starts with Laura’s pre-departure check list, which includes “Have I checked the expiration date of my credit card? “ When we arrived in Jerez, she gave us an even more thoughtful and detailed “Info, tips and things to consider.” I admire her meticulous planning and smooth execution of this trip from beginning to end. I gave her 100% approval. I wish I could be like her in whatever task I’ll take in the future.
Our teacher, Mercedes Ruiz is an internationally renowned dancer and teacher. I met her in Taiwan last November for the first time, and this year she will go to Shanghai, China. For almost a total of 20 hours of technique and choreography, somehow I felt the flamenco “ghost,” if you will, had come to grab me.
The sudden and sensual moves of her shoulders, the quick twist of her body, and, oh! I couldn’t take my eyes off her, the “holy” expression on her face. To say she smiled or frowned is too shallow an expression. It was her spirit that was talking to us.
Her routine was simply such a joy to watch, while the choreography of alegrías was a little hard for me. I set my goal as a chance to learn from a genuine flamenco master, so that I can motivate myself in the years to come.
The bulerías class was held in a historically significant building, Pena Los Cernícalos. Ana choreographed and explained to us how bulerias works and her assistant Esther followed up correcting our posture and steps. I was very impressed that this place was more than a dance studio, it was a real-life bulerias environment with guitarists and singers, and welcomed dancers of all levels to show off their skills, and that’s what bulerias is all about, isn’t it? A carefree, improvising and “happy together” type of dance.
I danced my first bulerías alone. It was not perfect, but it filled me with energy and hope that I would dance flamenco boldly and confidently before a crowd one day.
Laura speaks fluent Spanish, and she was always with us and translated for us word by word. I believe she has built up her own network in Jerez and becomes a familiar face in the flamenco community there. One dark night we was about to pass by a studio when a man approached to the door. I thought we would just ignore the whole thing and go home, but what happened was that we entered that studio and watched the gypsy owner try out his new dancing shoes. It turned out that Laura knew him, too.
We visited a small family-owned wine cellar and a big, commercial one. What a smart arrangement by Laura for us to compare the two! We were all happy with the blouses or skirts we custom made there, and the price was very reasonable.
In all, Jerez is a pleasant, affordable place to visit and to stay for all visitors. And if you are a flamenco lover, you must try this two-week tour with Laura. Let her lead you through the beautiful and mysterious world of flamenco, as simply as clapping your hands.
(My personal note: I’ve been able to sleep for three consecutive nights without sleeping pills, which is a record for me. I believe this trip has helped me let go in some unknowable way.)
Interested in Joining the Flamenco Tour?
Get the details here.
What Do Others Think?
Flamenco Tour Testimonials
Here are some pictures Debby took during her time in Jerez: (Cover photo by Debby)