I love asking flamenco artists I admire what advice they have to offer to the flamenco student. Here are thirteen suggestions from some of the best:
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We danced alegrías with David in Barcelona. He gave us so many cute moves. I love dancing alegrías but to do it to speed always feels so fast.
¿Quién me va a entender a mí
si yo mismo no me entiendo?
Te digo que no te quiero
y estoy loquito por tí.
Who is going to understand me . . .
I mentioned that we saw José Valencia at Tablao Cordobés. Seeing him in that intimate setting felt magical.
Here is one of the letras he sang:
Mira lo que te he comprao
que vengo de las minas de las Carboneras
que mira lo que te he comprao
unas botas de cartera
con los botones a un lao
te las pones cuando quieras
Look at what I bought you...
Below is a letra La Tana sang tonight por bulerías.
A mí me llaman La Loca
porque vivo a mi manera
y aunque viva equivoca
seré feliz hasta que me muera
They call me The Crazy One . . .
It’s the final day of the Mini-Challenge and time to step things up a bit. That's right, today things get harder. But sometimes harder can be more fun.
And I think you'll find that to be true with this final activity which is all about creation . . .
The creation of a step
Today’s exercise comes directly from our imaginary teacher of the week, David Romero.
David says coming up wtih a step is easy, You just have to do the work.
In other words, it’s not hard as long as we're willing to put forth effort.
(You can hear him talk about this six minutes thirty seconds into his video interview.)
Below, find out how to make up your very own flamenco step by following David's exact advice. (Well, along with a few additional suggestions from me.)
Today I'm going to show you how to learn from a favorite artist of your choosing. Read on to find out how.
David Romero says that we learn from all of the people we study (or work) with. That we hold onto the best bits from each person, that which we like,
Llega un momento en que naturalmente salen cosas en que tú dices, uy, esto por qué? Porque tú ya lo has vivido o la has visto o te lo han explicado.
“A time comes when things start happening naturally. You start doing things, and you say, “How did this happen?”
The process happens over time, David says. After a lot of dancing, a lot of studying, a lot of practicing, your body begins to change.
"And this is good.” he says. “It should change. Because if someone doesn’t change when dancing . . . What are we going to do? There has to be an evolution. And that comes from learning from all of the people who you study with, or all of the people who you work with, and all of the people who you admire.
Woo-hoo, you’ve made it to day three of the Dancing with David Even Though We’re Not With David Challenge! Today's task won't take long, so read on to find a new exercise to help you become a better dancer from home . . .
Today we're going to focus on the approach.
David gives 100% (if not more) when teaching.
He, the teacher, is there with you, the student, completely.
Which inspires you to be there with him. And to give all that you have to give during those moments.
Sooooo, when you’re in the studio,
Today I'm going to share with you a fun exercise (one of my personal favorites) that will help you to become a better dancer from the comfort of your own home. Yesterday we addressed the idea of looking in the mirror and how we need to look at what’s being reflected back to us in order to know what to change.
Today we’re going to go deeper,
Today we’re going micro,
Today we’re going to talk details
But before we do, I want you to take a moment to remember your why.
Got it in your cabeza?
Now, no matter what your purpose,
Flamenco has a certain aesthetic, and although there is plenty of room for personal style and preference, we must strive to remain true to the aesthetic of this art form.
It's time to begin the Dancing With David Even Though We're Not With David Mini-Challenge, yahoo! Read on to discover today's strategy for improving your dancing from home . . .
Now I know you may not want to, but please, look in the mirror.
This is essential.
Especially when you're at home with no teacher there to correct you, other than the David (for the purposes of this mini-challenge) inside your head.
You must look in the mirror
Allow the mirror to become your imaginary teacher, and listen to his corrections.
Once you’re finished reading this, I want you to get up, go the the closest mirror, do a move, and notice,
How do you look?
If something doesn’t look right, consider your basic technique,
How are you holding your elbows?
Do you need to move your arms farther away from your body, or closer perhaps?
It’s time to become a better flamenco dancer. And it’s time to use our imaginations to help us do that.
You may remember the Dance As If You Were in Class with Mercedes Holiday Challenge. Well, this week begins the Dancing With David Even Though We’re Not With David Mini-Challenge.
In other words, it’s time to pretend
You know how much I like to pretend.
You most likely saw last week’s video interview with David Romero. And you could probably tell by watching that he is a fabulous teacher with all kinds of wonderful information to share. So, for the next week I’ll be channeling David on a daily basis in order to learn from him from the comfort of my own home.
Care to join me?
(Check out the video at the end of this post if you'd like to see David dance.)
Why would I want to participate in this mini-challenge?
- To learn and grow as a flamenco dancer.
- Because it will be fun.
- Because it will not require a lot of time.
How will it work?
In November 2013 after the Flamenco Tour to Jerez was finished, I traveled to Barcelona to study with David Romero. (And to research holding a flamenco trip there with him, which is happening in November, woot!) My friend Stefani and I had daily classes with David (our own private flamenco workshop). Often times we would meet with him before or after class to have a coffee and chat.
And one day after class, I interviewed him
The interview took place in the little restaurant by the studio where we used to meet. We had lunch. We had café. And then we got to filming.
We did some shooting inside, some outside. I filmed some, Stefani filmed some. A couple of clips cut off in strange places because, well, I guess I stopped or started shooting too early or too late. Oops. I did my best to edit out the background noise, but you will definitely hear some potatoes being fried, sirens, a few outside voices, stuff like that. You'll also see some ladies on their way to the restroom, which happened to be our backdrop during part of the interview. I guess it all adds to the ambiente, the ambiance . . .
David has been dancing since he was three years old. He grew up going to peñas and hearing flamenco. He's from Barcelona, but his family is from Andalucía. In the video David talks about how his parents, originally from Huelva in Andalucía, ended up in Barcelona, the influences of hearing flamenco in his home, how he began dancing flamenco professionally (in a tablao when he was underage, having to run and hide when the authorities came by), his teaching philosophy, how he goes about creating a choreography and even just creating a step.
One more tangos that David was using with us last week...
Viva Málaga la bella,
tierra de tanta alegría,
que si a prueba me pusiera,
por ella daría la vida
Long live Malaga the beautiful,
land of so much happiness,
that if she put me to the test,
for her I would give my life
The first time I went to Sevilla I met this guy, José Luís. No, it wasn't like that. You could say he was a friend of a friend.
If you want to skip the story
Just scroll down to the bottom of the post for today's letra and a really cool video.
So José Luís is one of those people who is constantly telling jokes.
Well, constantly saying funny things is more like it because they're not jokes, not exactly. Some people call them jokes, but they're not what I have ever understood to be jokes. I guess because I'm American. And not just that, but I'm from Oregon.
José Luís is always saying funny things and making himself, and other people if they get it, laugh.
You could call him witty, but it's more than that. It's witty in a Sevillano way. Ingenioso. Agudo. That's what the dictionary is calling it.