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Emilio Ochando

A Year In Flamenco: My Top Seven Flamenco Memories of the Year

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A Year In Flamenco: My Top Seven Flamenco Memories of the Year

It’s the final day of the year, so let’s take some time to reflect before ringing in the new year. What moments stood out in your flamenco life this year?

Below you can see some of my favorite flamenco memories from 2018 (in chronological order). I feel extremely grateful for the wonderful experiences this year delivered. One of the things I most love is how each event pictured below offered a new opportunity to join with flamenco lovers from across the country (and the world in some cases) to enjoy this incredible art form together.

Here are my top seven flamenco memories of the year

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The Strength of the Air | The Weekly Letra

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The Strength of the Air | The Weekly Letra

Below watch (and be blown away by) Emilio Ochando's award-winning piece Tinevo, which took first place in the XXVº Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Española y Flamenco, where he and three other dancers do their thing with castanets and bata de cola. They dance to this original fandangos by Los Makarines:

Fandangos
Los Makarines

Cantan las hojas,
bailan las peras en el peral,
bailan las rosas,
rosas del viento no del rosal,
y nubes y nubes flotaban,
dormían al ras del aire,
todo el espacio giran con ella,
la fuerza del AIRE.

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Sevillanas You'll Love | The Weekly Letra

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Sevillanas You'll Love | The Weekly Letra

You're going to LOVE the video below of the Makarines performing sevillanas live. The third copla they sing is an excerpt from this sevillanas and it has to do with the Rocío pilgrimage. Here it is:

Sevillanas (De: Porque El Relente Le Daba)
José Miguel Évora/Isidro Muñoz*

Porque el relente le daba
Le puse mi chaquetilla

Le puse mi chaquetilla
Porque tiritaba y yo la veía, 
Ay!

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Eight Flamenco Dance Lessons Learned From Emilio Ochando

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Eight Flamenco Dance Lessons Learned From Emilio Ochando

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: 

1. Accent

Create accents with the body, the hands, the feet. This gives your dance dynamics and personality.

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A Mini-Interview with Emilio Ochando (Video)

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A Mini-Interview with Emilio Ochando (Video)

It's always fun to get a sneak peek into a flamenco dancer's life. So here's a brief video interview I did with Emilio Ochando last time he was in Portland. You'll find out what he enjoys about both teaching and performing as well as what kind of pre-performance rituals he does. Watch to the end for some outtakes. (The volume is low, and the quality is not the best, but don't worry, there are subtitles. Plus it gives you a chance to see just how gosh-darn cute this incredibly talented guy is!)

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Viernes con una Letra | Cantiñas

Cantiñas con abanico.  That is what we're doing in one of the workshops with Emilio this weekend.

And I am inspired beyond belief.

We're dancing to Miguel Poveda's Casa Pavón.  Here is the first letra...

Donde están los colegiales 
Plazoletilla del Rey
donde están los colegiales
al punto de la oración
unos entran y otros salen.
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Emilio Has Some Answers (and soon he'll have even more)

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Emilio Has Some Answers (and soon he'll have even more)

An interview with flamenco dancer Emilio Ochando and a video:

I can't wait to ask Emilio a million things once he gets here.  I asked him some questions last year.  But I have so many more!  Like how did he get to be so good?  And who are his favorite dancers?  And what are his favorite practice techniques and strategies?

I know he has a lot to tell us.

So I warmed him up with a few quick questions the other day.  And here is what he had to say.

Qué debe saber la gente que quiere aprender a bailar flamenco? Deben saber que no deja de ser un arte y que ello te lleva a emociones.  Tambien le tienes que sumar la constancia y ganas.

What should people who want to learn flamenco know? They should know that it will never stop being an art and that it will bring up your emotions.  Also you need to be consistent and approach it with enthusiasm.

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Viernes con una Letra | Silencio (fandangos para bailar con Emilio)

¡Vamos a bailar unos fandangos con Emilio! Below, some fandangos from Pitingo's Soulería.  And it happens to be the music Emilio will be using for the beginning coreografía class.  We still have spots available if you want to get in on the baile & palmas workshops next weekend...

Silencio

Más quiero
hoy el fandango es mi alegría,
y es el cante que más quiero
se alegran las penas mías
con un fandango alegrego
Y al amanecer el día. 

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4 Simple Tips to Becoming Better at Flamenco

Ricardo was here this spring...in case you hadn't heard.  He was constantly giving us tips during the workshops.  Many great tips.  I've shared some of them and I'll surely share more.

But perhaps just as helpful were the little phrases I heard him say over and over again.

He didn't really intend them as tips.  They were not things that he carefully considered before sharing with us.  They were more just reactions, spoken in the moment.

And, oh, these little comments had a lot to tell me.

So I want to keep hearing them.

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Viernes con una Letra | tangos

It's tangos.  Tangos that we danced tonight in class...  We did this letra on Wednesday too.

And everybody looked so happy when they were suddenly dancing to cante.

Because there's just something about dancing to the cante.  Marcandolo, rematandolo.  Simply put, It's fun.

After class some started asking questions, "What was that song?"  So, here it is.  Oooo, and soon I get to sing it with the first graders.  I love watching them accompany each other, dancing and singing...

Tangos
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Sentaito en mi escalera
esperando el porvenir
el porvenir que nunca llega.

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Before, During, and After

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Before, During, and After

A lot of things go through my head around workshop time, which can drive me kind of crazy. So, to help deal with overwhelm that comes about before, during & after a workshop with a fabulously amazing artist I try to remember that there are certain things I can do to make it easier...

Antes

Think about what I want to get from it.

Remind myself that the teacher is just a regular person, and, if it's someone I'm bringing, that this person is nice. Being nice...a requirement for giving a workshop here. Phew.

Remind myself that this is an amazing and once in a lifetime experience.

Get in flamenco form. [Go to class, practice, stuff like that...]

Durante

Focus on what I'm doing, instead of on how fast others are getting it.

Be there, as fully as I possibly can.

Go through parts that I remember in some way after class. [In my mind, actually doing it, just marking the steps, going over it with a friend...]

Run the steps right before class begins with a friend of by myself.  [All, tricky ones, whichever ones I/we can recall]

Jot down notes to help me during the workshop or to serve as reminders afterit is over. [using words, pictures, numbers]

When I get frustrated, remind myself of why I am doing this.  And that it is about having fun.

Laugh.  

And Breathe.

Y Después

Reflect on what I learned & notice how I grew, what I got from it.

Hold on to what I want to... [The choreography, the essence, one specific move.]

Practice with a friend.

Practice on my own, perhaps with a video.

Palmas workshop with Ricardo López

Palmas workshop with Ricardo López

I don't necessarily do all of the above.  But I know that there are ways to ease the situation.  I know that I have options.  I know that I can pick and choose.

And you, how do you prepare for a workshop?  What do you do afterward?  Let's discuss this, leave a comment.

And, speaking of workshops, Emilio is on his way.  Oléeeee!  And there is still a spot for YOU!

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Viernes con una Letra | Fandangos

I asked Emilio, who is coming here very very very soon, to give me a favorite letra. He couldn't decide. "Fandangos," he said, any and all. (I LOVED the fandangos he taught us last year.) So, I want you to see this video. Arcángel, cantando por fandangos. I saw him perform them live, and oh my goodness, it was beyond incredible. Me ponían los pelos de punta... He is from Huelva, go figure.

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A Show That Isn't a Show

As you know, one of my most favorite things when taking a workshop is the energy it provides.  It is what led me to start this business.

But the watching is wonderful too.

Because sure, as students we dance, (A LOT, I know, that's what we're there to do) but we are given little private performances as well.  I used to consider these performances a bonus, but now I realize they are part of the deal.

Sometimes I space out.  I get caught up watching and forget that I am in class and am supposed to be participating.  Because there is this incredible dancer right in front of me doing the most amazing things.  Giving mini-performances.  Many of them.  Like these...

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Emilio Ochando - Una Entrevista

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Emilio Ochando - Una Entrevista

Enjoy this interview in English and Spanish from earlier this year when Emilio Ochando was here in Portland.

February 1, 2011

Emilio when and why did you begin dancing? Well, as a little boy I was always dancing at home, dressing up and dancing in whatever way I felt. I started studying because of my sister. She was studying dance although she had to quit early due to knee problems. In Valencia I would go with my mom to pick her up from classes and watch through a little window. One day I told my mom I wanted to do it too. She asked me if I was truly serious about it, was I really willing to dedicate to it as I had seen how hard my sister had to work. I said yes and at 9 years old I began taking classes. I studied flamenco, ballet, classical Spanish dance, and modern. From the time started I was very serious about it; I knew I wanted to do do it professionally. I would go to school every day until 4:30/5pm then go to dance classes until 9:30/10pm, then go home, eat and do my homework. At the age of 16 I moved to Madrid.

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