Video interview with flamenco dancer and choreographer Manuel Liñan, winner of Spain's prestigious National Dance Award (Premio Nacional de Danza 2017), where he talks about life as a professional flamenco dancer and choreographer.
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It’s pretty easy to find places to see flamenco in Madrid. The challenge is knowing where to find quality flamenco. (Yes, you can see plenty of mediocre flamenco even in Spain, and if you’re in Spain, you definitely want to see the good stuff!) So today I'll tell you about four places you can go to see quality flamenco in Madrid, show you some videos of fantastic dancers in action, and address the idea of the 'touristy' flamenco show.
The Flamenco Tablao
One of the best ways to experience flamenco in Madrid is to visit a tablao, a place where flamenco is performed. Here are four tablaos where you can (usually) count on seeing good flamenco in Madrid:
Lately I've had bulerías on my mind . . . I've been watching bulerías, listening to bulerías, dancing bulerías (in class, at home, in my head).
Naturally, the moves I'm currently working with during the 10-Day Dance Like You're In Class With Mercedes Ruíz Home Challenge are por bulerías.
So, today I offer you some bulerías inspiration via a video of Manuel Liñan dancing and a letra that David Carpio sings to him. There's also a quick activity for you at the end of the post. (I know, I'm big on activities this week.)
Grateful for the trust that allows me to do certain things that I fear. Things that I really want to do. Things that make my life richer. Without trust, I would miss out on so much.
So, thank you, trust.
Some good things
have happened since my trip began. And I've already learned something very important.
On Monday I went to the Portland airport.
Ricardo was sitting next to me and laughed, as is often the case.
But I knew I had to write it down ...
Navegando me perdí
por esos mares de Dios
y con la luz de tus ojos
a puerto de mar salí
On the wall of her studio Mercedes has a photo of herself with Marco Flores when they were young. I wish you could see it. In the interview that follows Marco mentions how they danced together when they were starting out. They still do.
You'll also find out about how Marco grew up with flamenco in his family, how he began his career, and about his process of creation. He even shares some direct tips for us as students, though bits of advice can be found in all of his responses.
I originally posted it in 2011 and repost it today after watching snippets of his latest espectáculo from the 2014 Jerez Festival. Oh how I want to see that show! Further down you'll see a video of him dancing solo por siguiriyas.
It was 2008. And I was in Jerez.
Ten years had passed since that first trip to Spain.
Finally, I had made it back.
It was Ricardo who told me I needed to study with him.
And without pause.
I needed to study with Manuel Liñan.
Naturally, I was scared out of my mind. As was Lillie.
But we weren't supposed to be scared.
Not this time.
Today one of my favorite videos of Rocío Molina dancing tangos and some thoughts on the importance of watching flamenco dance.
Watching is a must. We talk a lot about listening, which is importantísimo. Absolutely essential.
But so is watching.
We are lucky. We have YouTube. We have Vimeo. We have Did Somebody Say Flamenco?
We have access to all kinds of good flamenco.
In our kitchens. In our bedrooms. In our offices. (Don't worry I won't tell.)
I know you do this. And in a minute I want to hear about a favorite video of yours.
Some good things have happened since my trip began. And I've already learned something very important. A story and a video of Manuel Liñan dancing.
On Monday I went to the Portland airport.
I befriended the woman standing behind me in the security line who, as it turns out, I already knew. We talked and I told her about my trip. She told me it was going to be great even though I was scared that everything would fall apart. She also told me I would definitely organize more...
On Tuesday I arrived in Madrid.
It was sunny and the sky was blue. I was in Spain and happy.
Now I am in Jerez. It is rainy and the sky is grey. I am still in Spain. I am still happy.
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...
GUEST POST: Below read reflections from a flamenco workshop with Manuel Liñan at the 2011 Festival de Jerez from Heather Williams, flamenca from Portland:
March 1, 2011I'm writing this from Jerez, Spain, where I'm making my first important flamenco pilgrimage: the annual Festival Flamenco de Jerez; an opportunity to study baile with the best dancers, to see performances every night, and just soak up the lively Andalucian culture. Jerez is definitely a flamenco town- walking the narrow winding streets you can hear it everywhere; the guitarist practicing a soleá in a rooftop garden, thundering footwork coming from a tiny studio, and the ubiquitous town drunks, who sing (in several cases, quite beautifully) for a cigarette or a few spare coins. Ah, it's so wonderful to finally be here!
February 26 Saturday Our first day of classes...Nervous as ever to go to Manuel Liñan's class, and I think my nerves were contagious. Sorry, Heather. We were like eager kindergartners on the first day of school arriving 20 minutes early, the first ones there, I don't know if I've ever been the first to arrive. Actually, Manolillo was there and even said hi - we soooo enjoyed class. Went to find the supermarket afterward, and on the way (I hadn't put my jacket on yet; it was warm and we'd just worked hard!) I pass an older woman on the street. Without making eye contact she looks at my clothes and says, "Hija, hace calor pero tampoco para irte así" Haha, I love Spain! Went home to make lunch, rest a bit and review what we'd learned in class. Then off to afternoon class with Marco Flores. Was wonderful to see him again and to thank him in person for the letter of invitation he wrote me to come to the festival.