Here’s a bulerías letra we heard Miguel Lavi sing (and dance to) during Olga Pericet’s show, La espina que quiso ser flor o la flor que soñó con ser bailaora, last week in Albuquerque.
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What does it feel like to have been the first teacher to some of the most famous flamenco dancers from Jerez?
That's a question I asked Ana María López, one of the most influential flamenco instructors in Jerez, Spain, in the video interview you'll see below.
Sitting down with Ani . . .
In the interview Ani, as she's affectionately known, talks about how she grew up surrounded by flamenco in the San Miguel neighborhood of Jerez, began studying dance as a little girl, and later grew into one of the most well-known bulerías instructors around. She has been the primary teacher to some of the greatest flamenco dancers working today such as Mercedes Ruíz, Patricia Ibañez, and Carmen Herrera. Naturally, we study bulerías with her during the Flamenco Tour to Jerez. Watch through to the end of the video where you'll see her in the studio demonstrating how to dance bulerías with the cante and feel the joyful essence of Jerez.
The moon is almost full, so I've included a lunar themed letra for you. (Though this one would make more sense on a new moon...) And since yesterday's video analysis was a hit, I decided to do another. Below you'll find a video of Beatríz Morales dancing to today's letra and giving many clear examples of what it looks like to dance to the cante along with my description of where each component of the structure occurs within her dance. Check it out, and find out what the ultimate bulerías goal is.
Esta noche la luna a mí no me acompaña
Me voy solo pa' casa
No espero al alba
La luna se ha enfadado por no llevarla
anoche a la verbena de Santa Ana
No me enfades luna, tú no me enfades.
Bulerías is arguably one of the hardest flamenco forms to dance due to it's improvisational nature, complex rhythm, and nuanced cante. But dancing bulerías is less mysterious than you may think. Once you understand the components of the dance and how they relate to the music (the singing and the compás) you'll be well on your way to obtaining bulerías freedom.
Below l explain the basic bulerías por fiesta structure and how it relates to the cante. After that you'll find a video of Pastora Galván along with an analysis describing where she dances each component of the structure. Finally I give you an activity to help you internalize the information.
After today's letra you'll find that video I promised you of Mercedes Ruíz dancing at this year's Fiesta de la Bulería (and really getting into it) followed by an explanation of what's happening at the end between the dancer (Mercedes) and the singer (David Carpio) along with an important concept to understand that can help you when dancing bulerías por fiesta by yourself. (I've also included a short activity for you to do at the end.)
No sé por qué será
me duelen más que las mías
las penas de los demás
From Jerez last fall ...
Sunday night I was writing
About flamenco and Jerez and what I'm doing here and what I want to learn here.
And I set some intentions for the week.
I had a few.
One was to Observe
To observe people dancing bulerías. In class and out. Anywhere. Especially people whose dancing I liked.
To watch them, really watch them. And to notice what was happening.
I've been in Jerez for about a month now. Kind of immersed in bulerías. They're everywhere. And I love them more and more each day. Really.
So here begins a little series. A nod to Jerez as I get ready to go. I'm leaving for Madrid in a few hours...
Un saludo a Jerez como ya me voy.
Because bulerías doesn’t exist anywhere as it does here. And if it did, it wouldn’t be what it is.
It’s just its own thing here.
And that's that.
I'm not saying you have to be in Jerez to do bulerías or anything like that. No, no. I’ll keep dancing them in Portland, of course, because there's no way I can stop. And we have a lot of fun doing bulerías in Portland, even though it's not the same.
Ok, so there is this one thing I've noticed that really, really, really has a BIG effect on my dancing. Is it the biggest effect? I don't know.
But it's big
I know how important it is, yet I still refuse to consistently give it the credit it deserves.
I want to remember to do it. Or no, not remember, I want to do it even if I don't want to.
You know how much I like stories, so let us begin with a story.
It was a Wednesday much like today, sunny and hot that is. I was in Jerez. It was the spring of 2011...
The rest of the story comes in the form of but another excerpt from my journal.
Having Mercedes Ruíz sing you a bulerías is not a bad way to start the weekend... That's what happened today. It was at the end of our interview, which I'll be posting in the coming days. I asked her to share a favorite letra with me.
She rested her chin on her hand and thought for a moment.
"Me gusta mucho la bulería de Camarón, la de... "
Then she stopped.
"Pero te la tengo que cantar?" And she smiled. No, no?"
Ha, no. Just tell me how it goes.
Ok, so getting back to bulerías... I already told you about how I happened to get hooked on bulerías. And there are many stories to go along with that. Both Happy Tales (like seeing El Torta perform in Jerez last April...in a place I wasn't supposed to be, but where I went anyway) and Horror Stories (ok, perhaps not horror stories - all of the Halloweenness appears to be affecting my language - we'll call them Crying in Bulerías Class Stories.) But those can wait for later.
Right now let's just focus on some important things to know about Bulerías de Jerez, some of the cositas I referred to the other day...