When is it too late to start learning flamenco? Find out below and watch a video of Mercedes Ruíz dancing as a little girl along with a bulerías clip from Carlos Saura's Flamenco Flamenco.
According to Mercedes Ruíz, "It's never too late do what you want to do." Sure, she began dancing flamenco at the age of four, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are doomed.
I began dancing flamenco at the age of twenty three, or was it twenty two? Pat began when she was sixty nine. Becky began when she was forty four. Many of the dancers I know began in their thirties, forties, fifties, and even sixties. Many danced at a young age then stopped for various reasons only to come back to it years later.
We can begin dancing flamenco at any age
And there is no 'retirement age' for flamenco dancing. We can leave it and come back. And we can continue dancing flamenco as long as we want to. This is something that I absolutely love about flamenco.
It is a dance for all ages.
Older flamenco dancers are in fact respected and honored. This is part of the flamenco culture. (See video clips below.)
A younger dancer may have different goals than an older dancer. And one's desires as a dancer may change over time, just as desires around all things in life will evolve.
But the bottom line is this,
In the video below Pat, a very beginner and first time traveler, talks about what the Flamenco Tour was like for her. The video was made after her first trip to Jerez. She came back with me a year later too and has already signed up for next fall's trip!
She inspires me just about every time I see her, or even just think about her. Watch the video to find out why.
Not really. It may be called Beginning. Or Advanced.
And that name might tell me about the pace of the class. Or about the type or amount of information and material that will be given.
But what does it really mean?
Is what I view as beginning the same as what you view as beginning?
Can I expect to find people all at the same skill level because the class is called intermediate?
Does the name of the class tell me where I belong?
No and not necessarily.
I have some thoughts on figuring out which class you "belong" in and some more thoughts about what to do should you find yourself in a class that feels like the wrong level.
In class I'm often saying that soon the body will just know what to do, without having to think about it so much. Because it's true.
Take the hands for instance. Las manos.
Hand movement is one of those elements of flamenco that seems to get just about everyone. Even professionals who come to flamenco from other dance forms have told me this aspect drives them crazy. Getting them to look good is one thing. Then how much harder steps become when we add hands… and fingers, Ay! Another thing.
Still, there comes a time when they just start moving on their own. Fluidly. Doing things we didn't know they could or would do... It can be surprising when this first happens.
But there is a catch.