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Sevilla

Should I Put Myself Out There? (& Why Should I Listen to Flamenco Music?) | The Weekly Letra

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Should I Put Myself Out There? (& Why Should I Listen to Flamenco Music?) | The Weekly Letra

Thinking about that first trip to Spain in 1998 has reminded me that I need to step it up in the doing things that scare the *#%~&> out of me category. Read on for a lesson around that idea and more of my story from that first trip. Also, find out why it's essential to listen to flamenco music, read a letra about Sevilla, then see a video of Juana la del Revuelo, Aurora Vargas, and Remedios Amaya ...

During my time in Sevilla I saw these women perform. During my time in Sevilla I saw these women perform live. As you'll see from the video below, it was wonderful. Their CDs were among some of the first I purchased once I accepted the fact that I needed to start listening to flamenco music. You see, in the beginning I wasn't very interested in listening to the music, especially cante, unless I was dancing, but Chris convinced me to start listening. He said I needed to do this to understand and internalize the compás.

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits  . . .  (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

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Why You Shouldn't Call It Quits . . . (My First Flamenco Dance Experience in Spain)

In 1998 I traveled to Spain to study flamenco. My plan was simple (and not very well thought out): Travel around, settle somewhere in Andalucía, find flamenco classes, find work. I had no contacts in Spain, no leads on where to study or work. I didn’t even know what city I was going to live in.

I just knew that if I wanted to learn flamenco I needed to go to Spain.

Today I'll tell you about finding flamenco in Sevilla, what it taught me about perseverance, and how it can help you.

I didn't plan much before I left for Spain. In part because I wanted to get a feel for the different cities before choosing where to settle. In part because thinking it through felt too overwhelming, and the more I thought about the details, the more I thought about changing my mind and staying put. I spoke Spanish, I had a strong desire to learn, I had saved enough money to hold me over for awhile, I felt ready for an adventure, and I knew I could figure things out once I arrived.

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Bulerías de Jerez | Viernes con una Letra

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Bulerías de Jerez | Viernes con una Letra

I'll be honest. In the beginning, I wasn't a huge fan of flamenco singing.

It wasn't that I didn't like it.

It intrigued me that's for sure. But I didn't feel inclined to sit around and listen to it a whole bunch.

It didn't take long before that changed.

I guess it happened early on during my time in Sevilla, on that first flamenco trip.

And actually, while I was initially drawn to the baile, the cante played a huge roll in getting me hooked on flamenco ... and keeping me in it.

Just like the compás.

And now,

Well, you know how it is now.

Which brings me to the letra:

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How Writing Saved Me in Jerez

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How Writing Saved Me in Jerez

I can't imagine learning flamenco without pens and paper. I really can't.

On paper I take notes.  On paper I figure things out.  On paper I put the thoughts that circle inside my head.  And there's just something I like so much about the feel of the pen moving atop the paper.

I often write in little books

They helped me a lot in the beginning, in Sevilla.

They help me today.

And they helped me a lot in Jerez.

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What You Need to Know if You Want to Dance with the Bata & The Kitchen Sessions

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What You Need to Know if You Want to Dance with the Bata & The Kitchen Sessions

Me and the bata de cola.

You could say that there’s really no excuse for me not being able to dance well with the bata.

Because I’ve had several experiences, various opportunities to learn.

I'll tell you about a one of my favorites today, and after the story, I'll tell you why you should study the bata even if you don't ever want to dance with it, and I'll share with you another bata need-to-know.

A [very] brief history of my bata experiences

You know about the first,

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Matilde Coral and My First Experience with a Bata de Cola (& a very important Tip)

People are often asking me about my how I got started with flamenco, about my first experiences.  And awhile back I told you I’d tell you some stories from that first year in Spain. So I’m going to tell you a story from that time today.  At the end of the story you’ll find a tip on dancing with the bata de cola, it's an essential, and you can work on it anywhere, in the bathroom, in the bedroom ...

But first, Spain

Telling you about my first year in Spain means I have to talk about Matilde Coral.

Porque es una figura.

I didn’t know it then, but my exposure to Matilde and her way of dancing would end up being kind of huge for me.  Yesterday I had a big realization about the significance of her academy having been the first flamenco school I was sent to in Sevilla.

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It Wasn't Like My Fantasy

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It Wasn't Like My Fantasy

I mentioned that I had this fantasy of dancing on rooftops before I went to Spain for the first time. Once I settled in Sevilla and found my apartment, I was overjoyed to discover that it had an azotea.

azotea - rooftop

I wanted to go up there with my character shoes. Yes, character shoes. I was so stubborn, so green that I didn't believe having actual flamenco shoes would make that much of a difference when dancing. Anyway, I wanted to go up to try to practice the little that I could remember from class.

Carolina, my roommate, told me to make sure that the door didn't close or I would be locked up there with no way of getting down. I think she may have thought I was nuts.

So one day I went up to dance on the roof

It was sunny and beautiful. Springtime and not too hot.

But it wasn't like my fantasy.  

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